12/03/2023, 13.40
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Pope Francis: 'Broken truce in Gaza means only death and misery'

Bergoglio, in a video feed from Casa Santa Marta, launched a new appeal for a ceasefire in the Strip. On this morning's attack in Mindanao, Philippines: "I pray for the victims. I am close to the people, they have already suffered so much'. Recalling the International Day of Persons with Disabilities: "Valuing every person".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Even today, for the second Sunday in a row, Pope Francis did not appear for Angelus from the window of the Apostolic Palace. However, he appeared in a crowded St. Peter's Square connected from the chapel of Casa Santa Marta, flanked by Msgr. Paolo Braida, who read the catechesis in his place.

“I am improving,” the pontiff said at the beginning, referring to the lung inflammation which in recent days has prevented him from attending the 28th UN Conference on Climate Change in Dubai; his speech for Cop28 was read yesterday by card. Pietro Parolin.

After the recitation of the Angelus, the first thoughts turned to the serious situation in Israel and Palestine. “It saddens that the truce has been broken. This means death, destruction and misery,” Francis said through Braida's voice.

“Many hostages have been freed, but many are still in Gaza,” he continued, referring to the 110 hostages released by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, but also to the 137 still detained in the Strip. “We think of them, of their families who had seen a light, a hope of embracing their loved ones.” Furthermore, the aid provided to the people of Gaza during the truce is still not sufficient. “There is a lot of suffering. There is a lack of basic necessities", continued Mgr. Braida. Francis then asked that "all those involved" can soon agree again on a ceasefire and to "find solutions other than weapons, trying to follow courageous paths to peace".

This was immediately followed by a thought addressed to the victims of this morning's attack carried out during the celebration of a Catholic mass in Marawi, a city in the southern Philippines. “I would like to assure my prayers to the victims,” Braida said.

There are reportedly four victims; while around forty people were injured following an explosion. “I am close to the families, to the people of Mindanao, who have already suffered so much,” he added.

“Although from a distance I follow the COP28 work in Dubai with great attention. I am close,” Pope Francis later said, saying he wanted to renew his appeal so that “climate changes should be responded to with concrete political changes”.

“Let us emerge from the constraints of particularisms and nationalisms, patterns of the past, and embrace a common vision”, he added, also underlining the urgency of committing ourselves “all of us now, without postponing”, in order to favor and support “a necessary conversion global ecology".

Finally, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities which occurs today, established in 1992, was remembered. "Welcoming and including those who experience this condition helps the whole society to become more human", said Mgr. Paolo Braida. Asking that in all meeting environments - families, parishes, schools, work, sports - we learn to "value each person with their qualities and abilities", without excluding anyone.

Introducing the Marian prayer, Pope Francis spoke about today's short Gospel (Mk 13, 33-37), which contains "a simple direct exhortation" that Jesus "addresses to us three times": stay awake. The theme of today's Word is precisely vigilance.

Bergoglio explained how to understand this virtue in its Christian meaning, that is, not as an "attitude motivated by fear of imminent punishment". It is Jesus who explains how to understand it, by means of a parable: that of a master who will return to his servants after having given "each of him his task".

“The vigilance of the servants is not made of fear, but of desire, waiting to meet their lord who comes. They are ready for his return because they love him,” he said. It is with this spirit that Francis advises us to "prepare to welcome Jesus" in this season of Advent which begins today; Jesus who already comes to meet us "in the Eucharist" and "in those most in need".

Just as servants prepare a “welcoming and tidy” home for their master, Bergoglio stated: “Let us carefully prepare the home of the heart, so that it is tidy and hospitable. In fact, being vigilant means keeping your heart ready."

He then concluded the reflection by saying that Saint Martin of Tours "after giving half of his cloak to a poor man, dreamed of Jesus clad in precisely that part of the cloak". From this story an invitation for the Advent season: "to meet Jesus who comes in every brother and sister who needs us and to share with them what we can". In conclusion, the Holy Father stated: “Have a good Advent journey! Please don't forget to pray for me."

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