Vatican City (AsiaNews)
- "Stop! I am asking you
with all my heart. Stop!" said Pope Francis
in a plea addressed "to the peoples and authorities" involved in three
crises that presently occupy his "thoughts":
namely the Middle East, Iraq, and
Putting aside his prepared text, the
Holy Father addressed the pilgrims in
St Peter's Square at the end of the Angelus today, and
reminded them that "all is lost with
war, but nothing is lost with peace."
"Brothers and sisters: never war,"
he said. "My thoughts go especially to
the children, from whom we take away the hope for a decent life: dead children,
injured children, maimed children,
orphaned children, children who have
war relics for toys,
children who do not know how to smile."
Speaking about the three war-torn areas he mentioned, the pope also
said he hoped to see that "the common good and respect for every
person are put at the centre of every decision, not special
For this reason, he called
on everyone to "continue to join
me in prayer that the Lord may grant
the peoples and authorities of those areas the wisdom and strength needed
to push ahead on the path of
peace, addressing every diatribe with the tenacity of dialogue and negotiation and the power of reconciliation."
Francis' appeal vis-à-vis these three situations comes from the remembrance of
the 100 years since the outbreak
of the First World War, which will
falls tomorrow, and which the pope called "a day of mourning in memory of that tragedy."
The Great War
in fact "caused millions of deaths and immense destruction. Such a conflict, which Pope
Benedict XV called a 'senseless slaughter', resulted, after four long years, in
a most fragile peace."
"As we remember
this tragic event," Francis went on to say, "I hope the
mistakes of the past will not be repeated, and the lessons of history will be taken into
account, ensuring that the demands
of peace prevail through patient and
Before the Marian prayer, the pope spoke about today's
13: 44-52), which mentions the parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great
"They," the pope
said, "tell us that the discovery of the Kingdom of God can
occur suddenly, as was the case for the farmer who, as he ploughed, found the unhoped for treasure, or can come after
a long search, as it did for the pearl
merchant, who finally found the
pearl of great price he had long dreamt of.
"In either case,
the main thing is that the treasure and the pearl are worth more than all other assets. Hence, the farmer and the merchant, when they found them, dropped everything else to buy them. They did
not need to ponder, think,
or reflect; they realised immediately
the incomparable value of what they had found, and were willing to
lose everything just to have it. "
"The same goes for the Kingdom of God," the pontiff explained. "Whoever
finds it has no doubts, he feels that it is what he was looking for, waiting for
- the thing that corresponded to his most authentic aspirations.
And this is how it really is: those who know Jesus, who meet him personally,
remain fascinated, drawn by so much kindness, so
much truth, so much beauty, and
everything in great humility and
"How many people, how many saints, reading the Gospel with an open heart, have been
so impressed by Jesus, that they
were converted to Him. Let us remember Saint
Francis of Assisi. He was already
a Christian, but a shallow one. When he read the Gospel at a crucial moment in his youth, he
met Jesus, and discovered the Kingdom of
God, and then
all his dreams of earthly glory vanished."
"The Gospel makes you
know the true Jesus, the living Jesus. It speaks
to the heart and is a life changer. Thus, yes, drop everything! You can
actually change around your life, or continue what you did before, but you are someone else, you
are born again. You have found what makes sense, what
gives flavour, what brings light to
everything, what even causes toil, suffering, and
"Read the Gospel,
read the Gospel!" the pope said without reading his prepared
speech. "Do you remember? We talked about it: read a
small passage from the Gospel every day,
carry a small Gospel in your pocket, purse, at
work . . ."
this," he noted, "makes sense when
in it, in the Gospel, we find this treasure, which Jesus calls
'the Kingdom of God', that is, when God rules
in your life, in our life. It is love, peace and joy in
every man and in all men. This is
what God wants; it is that for which Jesus gave
himself and died on a cross,
freeing us from the power of darkness
and moving us to
the kingdom of life, beauty, and joy.
Reading the gospel is to find Jesus and
have this joy. Which
is the gift of the Holy Spirit."
"The joy of finding the treasure of the Kingdom of God comes through, [and] can be seen," Francis
said in concluding. "Christians cannot
hide their faith, because it comes through in every word, every gesture, even the simplest, everyday:
the love God gave us through Jesus comes through. Let us pray, through the intercession of the Virgin
Mary, that his Kingdom of love, justice and peace may come to us and the whole world."