Pope: How long will the Afghan people have to endure this inhumane violence?

During the Angelus, Pope Francis made an appeal for Afghanistan, which was hit by terrorist attacks in recent days. He also mentioned World Leprosy Day. Two young people from Azione Cattolica read a Message of Peace. "Jesus is our Teacher, powerful in words and deeds."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – "How long will the Afghan people have to endure this inhumane violence?" is the question Pope Francis asked today after the Angelus in front of the pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square, as he mentioned the terrorist attack that took place yesterday in Kabul, when an ambulance filled with explosives blew up in the central area of ​​the city, killing more than a hundred people and wounding more than 150.

The pontiff also referred to other attacks that took place recently, in particular the one that against the Intercontinental hotel in the Afghan capital. "Let us pray in silence for all the victims and their families,” said the pontiff, as well as “for those who continue to work to build peace in that country."

Earlier, Francis had introduced the Marian prayer with a thought about the Gospel in today's Mass (Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B, Mark 1: 21-28), in which Jesus shows himself in the synagogue of Capernaum as a "powerful prophet in words and deeds," preaching "with authority "and driving out the unclean spirit from a possessed man.”

"Jesus’s power confirms the authoritativeness of his teaching,” Francis explained. “He does not only utter words, but acts. Thus, he shows God's plan with words and the power of deeds. In fact, in the Gospel we see that Jesus, in his earthly mission, reveals God’s love both through preaching and through countless acts of attention and assistance to the sick, the needy, children and sinners.”

“Today's Gospel passage shows us that Jesus is our Teacher, powerful in words and deeds. Jesus communicates to us all the light that illuminates the sometimes dark streets of our existence. He also communicates to us the strength necessary to overcome difficulties, trials, temptations. Think of what great grace it is for us to have known this God so powerful and so good! A teacher and a friend, who shows us the way and takes care of us, especially when we are in need."

"May the Virgin Mary, a woman who listens, help us to create silence around and within us, to hear, in the din of the messages of the world, the most authoritative word there is: that of her Son Jesus, who proclaims the meaning of our existence and frees us from all slavery, even from that of the Evil One."

After the Angelus and the appeal for Afghanistan, Francis mentioned that today is the World Leprosy Day. "This disease,” he noted, “unfortunately still affects the most disadvantaged and poorest people. To these brothers and sisters, we express our closeness and solidarity. Let us also pray for those who assist them and work for their reintegration into society."

Before concluding, the pope greeted the thousands of young people from the Azione Cattolica (Catholic Action) of the diocese of Rome, who completed the ‘Caravan of Peace’ initiative. "Do not get tired of being instruments of peace and joy among your peers!" he told them.

Afterwards, the pontiff made room for two young people to use the microphone to read their message of peace. During this month-long initiative, the young people raised funds for disabled children refugees from Iraq.

"Now, each of us, in his heart prays for peace,” he said. Together "with our prayers for peace, the balloons will rise to heaven!" And hundreds of multicoloured balloons were let go from the square.