06/28/2020, 13.33
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Pope calls on Europe and the UN to improve the tragic situation of Syrians and Lebanese

The pontiff says that the love for Jesus should be put above family affections, that “kinship ties, if put first, can deviate from the true good”. He urges the faithful “to pray for the people of Yemen, especially the children, who are suffering because of the serious humanitarian crisis”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis called on those who followed today’s Angelus to pray that Europe and the United Nations may improve the tragic situation of Syrians as well as the Lebanese who have taken them in. Before, he noted that the Gospel says to put love towards Jesus above family affections, "that kinship ties, if they are put first, can deviate from the true good.”

Speaking to a thousand people, spread out over St Peter's Square, Francis said that today's Gospel (Mt 10: 37-42) “strongly echoes the call to fully live and without hesitation our devotion to the Lord. Jesus asked his disciples to take seriously evangelical needs, even when this requires sacrifice and effort.

"The first demanding request that he made to those who followed him was that of putting love towards him above family affection. He said: ‘Whoever loves father or mother [. . .] son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me,’ (Mt 10: 37). Jesus certainly does not intend to underestimate love for parents and children, but he knows that kinship ties, if put first, can deviate from the true good. We see it in the corruption of governments when they put love of relatives before love of country.”

“We could point to many examples in this regard, not to mention those situations in which family affections are mixed with choices opposed to the Gospel. On the other hand, when love for parents and children is moved and purified by the love for the Lord, it then becomes fully fruitful and produces good in the family itself and far beyond it.”

Francis noted that Jesus complains about the doctors of the law for neglecting their parents and that he pushes to love parents and children.

“Jesus told his disciples: ‘whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me’ (Mt 10:38). It is a question of following him on the path that He himself followed, without looking for shortcuts. There is no true love without a cross, that is, without personally paying a price. Carried with Jesus, the cross is not frightening, because He is always at our side to support us in the hour of the toughest tests, to give us strength and courage.”

“There is no need to fret to preserve one’s own life, with a fearful and selfish attitude. Jesus warned: ‘Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it’ (Mt 10:39). This is the paradox of the Gospel. But, thank God, we also have many examples of this” even in this pandemic.

“The fullness of life and joy is found by giving yourself for the Gospel and for your brothers and sisters, with openness, acceptance and benevolence. In doing so, we can experience God’s generosity and gratitude. Jesus reminded us of this [when he said]: ‘Whoever receives you receives me [. . .] whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones [. . .] he will surely not lose his reward’ (Mt 10:40,42). God the Father’s generous gratitude takes into account even the smallest act of love and service rendered onto [our] brothers.”

“This contagious recognition helps each of us have gratitude for those who take care of our needs. When someone offers us a service, we must not think that everything is due to us. Many services are done out of love. Think about the volunteers.”

“Gratitude, gratitude, is first of all a sign of good education, but it is also a badge for Christians. It is a simple but genuine sign of the kingdom of God, which is a kingdom of free and grateful love ".

After the Marian prayer the Pope said that "the fourth conference of the European Union and the United Nations will be held next Tuesday, 30 June, to support the future of Syria and the region. Let us pray for this important meeting, that it may improve the tragic situation of the Syrian and neighbouring peoples, especially Lebanon, amid serious socio-political and economic crises that the pandemic has made even more difficult. [. . .] Some children are suffering from hunger."

"I call upon you to pray for the people of Yemen, especially the children, who are suffering because of the serious humanitarian crisis, as well as for those affected by severe floods in western Ukraine. May they experience the comfort of the Lord and the help of their fellow human beings.”

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