First Mass by Pope Francis in Japan, in the city that experienced the nuclear holocaust, which caused 100-200 thousand deaths. Raise "our voices" to defend the innocent, choosing "compassion as the authentic way to shape history ".
Nagasaki (AsiaNews) - Walking in the footsteps of the Japanese martyrs, Christians "want to follow in their path, to walk in their footsteps and to profess courageously that the love poured out in sacrifice for us by Christ crucified is capable of overcoming all manner of hatred, selfishness, mockery and evasion. It is capable of defeating all those forms of facile pessimism or comfortable indolence that paralyze good actions and decisions".
At the first Mass in Japan, Pope Francis exhorts the faithful to a renewed evangelization, raising "our voices" to defend the innocent, choosing "compassion as a true way to build history".
In the morning the Pope had visited the Nagasaki Peace Memorial, which together with Hiroshima has experienced the nuclear holocaust, which in this city has made between 100 and 200 thousand victims. And the Mass, was before the face of the "burnt Madonna", from a statue of the Virgin burned by the nuclear bomb, preserved in the cathedral of Nagasaki (see photo).
In his homily, Francis takes his cue from the liturgy of the day, that of Christ the King, which shows the Gospel in which he tells of the good thief who shows compassion towards Jesus who dies on the cross and asks him to be in his kingdom (Luke 23.42 ): “Today, in this place, we want to renew our faith and our commitment. We know too well the history of our failures, sins and limitations, even as the good thief did, but we do not want them to be what determines or defines our present and future. We know how readily all of us can take the easy route of shouting out: “Save yourself!” and choose not to think about our responsibility to alleviate the suffering of innocent people all around us. This land has experienced, as few countries have, the destructive power of which we humans are capable. Like the good thief, we want to speak up and profess our faith, to defend and assist the Lord, the innocent man of sorrows”.
" Each day we pray: Lord, may your kingdom come. With these words, we want our own lives and actions to become a hymn of praise. If, as missionary disciples, our mission is to be witnesses and heralds of things to come, we cannot become resigned in the face of evil in any of its forms. Rather, we are called to be a leaven of Christ’s Kingdom wherever we find ourselves: in the family, at work or in society at large. We are to be a little opening through which the Spirit continues to breathe hope among peoples. The kingdom of heaven is our common goal, a goal that cannot be only about tomorrow. We have to implore it and begin to experience it today, amid the indifference that so often surrounds and silences the sick and disabled, the elderly and the abandoned, refugees and immigrant workers. All of them are a living sacrament of Christ our King (cf. Mt 25:31-46). For “if we have truly started out anew from the contemplation of Christ, we must learn to see him especially in the faces of those with whom he himself wished to be identified” (John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, 49)".
"Dear brothers - concludes - Nagasaki bears in its soul a wound difficult to heal, a scar born of the incomprehensible suffering endured by so many innocent victims of wars past and those of the present, when a third World War is being waged piecemeal. Let us lift our voices here and pray together for all those who even now are suffering in their flesh from this sin that cries out to heaven. May more and more persons be like the good thief and choose not to remain silent and jeer, but bear prophetic witness instead to a kingdom of truth and justice, of holiness and grace, of love and peace".