From the city of Matera, where he closed the Italian National Eucharistic Congress, Francis gave voice to the pain of the children killed in airstrikes by government forces in the Sagaing, Myanmar. May the Eucharist be “a prophecy of a new world”, so that the prayer of adoration can free us “from all slavery.”
Matera (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis today recited the Angelus prayer from the city of Matera (southern Italy) at the end of the Mass he presided over at the conclusion of the National Eucharistic Congress of the Italian Church.
In his address, he placed in Mary’s trust the sufferings of peoples wounded by wars, especially the people of Myanmar, scene of growing horror, urging the world to hear the cries of children, like those killed in a Buddhist school in Sagaing region hit by government planes.
"For more than two years that noble country has endured heavy fighting and violence, which have caused so many victims and displaced many people. This week I heard a cry of pain for the death of children in a school hit by bombs.”
“Presently, it might be fashionable to attack schools,’ said the pope speaking in a bitter tone. ”May the cry of the little ones not go unheard; such tragedies ought not to happen."
The pope also prayed so that Mary Queen of Peace can “comfort the grief-stricken people of Ukraine and give the leaders of nations the willpower to immediately find effective means to end the war.”
Francis also joined the appeal launched by the bishops of Cameroon for the release of people abducted in the Diocese of Mamfe, including five priests and a nun. “May the Lord give peace to the hearts and life of that dear country.”
Speaking about the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which the Church celebrated today, the pontiff called for a future "in which migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking can live in peace and dignity. So that the Kingdom of God can be realised with them, with no one excluded.
“It is thanks to these brothers and sisters that communities can grow socially, economically, culturally, and spiritually,” he said. “Sharing different traditions enriches the People of God. Let us all commit ourselves to building a more inclusive and fraternal future. Migrants must be welcomed, accompanied, promoted, and integrated.”
Speaking about the Eucharistic Congress held in Matera, the pontiff entrusted to Mary "the journey of the Church in Italy, so that in every community the scent of Christ the living Bread descended from Heaven may be recognised.” He also added: “For Italy, I dare ask more births, more children.”
Shortly before, in his homily about the parable of the banquet of the rich man and the poor Lazarus who is not even allowed to eat crumbs (Lk 16:19-31), Francis explained the deepest meaning of being Church around the Eucharist, noting that the Gospel does not mention the rich man by name. “Wealth leads to this; you are stripped of your name. Satisfied with himself, intoxicated by money, stunned by vanity, there is no place for God in his life because he worships only himself.”
The Eucharist instead asserts the primacy of God, invites us to worship him and not ourselves, “for if we worship ourselves, we die stifled by our little self; if we worship the riches of this world, they take possession of us and enslave us.
“Conversely, when we worship the Lord Jesus present in the Eucharist, we also receive a new look at our lives. I am not the things I possess or the successes I achieve. I am a beloved son; I am blessed by God. He wanted to dress me with beauty and wants me free from all slavery.”
For this reason, the pope urges the faithful to rediscover adoration, “a prayer that is frequently forgotten. Let us rediscover it: it frees us and restores us to our dignity as children, not as slaves.” The parable also refers to the abyss that divides the rich man from the poor Lazarus, a “trench” that he himself dug.
"It is painful to see that this parable is still the history of our days. Injustices, disparities, the resources of the earth distributed in an unequal way, the abuses of the powerful against the weak, the indifference towards the cry of the poor, the abyss that we dig every day generating marginalisation: none of that can leave us indifferent.
“Hence today, together, we recognise that the Eucharist is a prophecy of a new world. We dream of a Eucharistic Church, made up of women and men who break like bread for all those who chew loneliness and poverty, for those who are hungry for tenderness and compassion, for those whose lives are crumbling because the good leaven of hope has been missing.
"A Church that kneels before the Eucharist and adoration with amazement the Lord present in the bread, but who also knows how to bow with compassion and tenderness before the wounds of those who suffer, lifting up the poor, wiping away the tears of those who suffer, making themselves bread of hope and joy for all. For there is no true Eucharistic adoration without compassion for the many ‘Lazarus’ who even today walk next to us.”