05/24/2014, 00.00
VATICAN - HOLY LAND
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Pope in Jordan: peace cannot "be bought," it is "a gift to be sought patiently" and "crafted" through actions

Francis celebrates the first Mass of his trip to the Holy Land at an Amman stadium before a crowd of 40,000. For 1,400 children, it is the day of their First Communion. The mission of the Holy Spirit "is to beget harmony - he is himself harmony - and to create peace in different situations and between different people. Diversity of ideas and persons should not trigger rejection or prove an obstacle, for variety always enriches."

Amman (AsiaNews) - "Peace is not something which can be bought; it is a gift to be sought patiently and to be 'crafted' through the actions, great and small, of our everyday lives," said Pope Francis as he spoke in his homily about peace and the work of the Holy Spirit for peace in the first Mass of his visit to the Holy Land.

The pope celebrated the service at Amman's International Stadium amid a festive atmosphere. Before him stood a crowd of some 40,000 people, who welcomed him, singing and releasing long chains of coloured balloons. One chain of blue balloons was shaped like a rosary, cross included.

As his popemobile drove him among the crowd, Francis blessed and greeted people, as well as kissed babies. On this trip, he will not use armoured cars. Some 1,400 joyful and excited children received their first communion during the Mass. Many of them waved the Jordanian and Vatican flags.

Many Christian refugees from Palestine, Syria and Iraq were in the crowd. In his direct address to them, the pope said, "please bring my greeting to your families and communities, and assure them of my closeness," words that echo the conflicts that surround this country.

For their part, the faithful in their prayer said, "O Lord, awaken in all the peoples of the Middle East and all the peoples of the earth a genuine desire for peace", and "keep in peace our beloved country."

In his homily, the pope spoke about the peace the Holy Spirit brings. "These various works of the Holy Spirit are part of a harmonious action, a sole divine plan of love. The mission of the Holy Spirit, in fact, is to beget harmony - he is himself harmony - and to create peace in different situations and between different people. Diversity of ideas and persons should not trigger rejection or prove an obstacle, for variety always enriches. So today, with fervent hearts, we invoke the Holy Spirit and ask him to prepare the path to peace and unity."

The Holy Spirit also anoints. He anointed Jesus inwardly and he anoints his disciples, so that they can have the mind of Christ and thus be disposed to live lives of peace and communion. Through the anointing of the Spirit, our human nature is sealed with the holiness of Jesus Christ and we are enabled to love our brothers and sisters with the same love which God has for us. We ought, therefore, to show concrete signs of humility, fraternity, forgiveness and reconciliation. These signs are the prerequisite of a true, stable and lasting peace. Let us ask the Father to anoint us so that we may fully become his children, ever more conformed to Christ, and may learn to see one another as brothers and sisters. Thus, by putting aside our grievances and divisions, we can show fraternal love for one another. This is what Jesus asks of us in the Gospel: 'If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete, to be with you for ever' (Jn, 14:15-16)."

"Lastly, the Holy Spirit sends. Jesus is the one who is sent forth, filled with the Spirit of the Father. Anointed by the same Spirit, we also are sent as messengers and witnesses of peace."

"Peace is not something which can be bought; it is a gift to be sought patiently and to be "crafted" through the actions, great and small, of our everyday lives. The way of peace is strengthened if we realize that we are all of the same stock and members of the one human family; if we never forget that we have the same heavenly Father and are all his children, made in his image and likeness."

In concluding, the pope noted, "The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the Jordan, and thus inaugurated his work of redemption to free the world from sin and death. Let us ask the Spirit to prepare our hearts to encounter our brothers and sisters, so that we may overcome our differences rooted in political thinking, language, culture and religion. Let us ask him to anoint our whole being with the oil of his mercy, which heals the injuries caused by mistakes, misunderstandings and disputes. And let us ask him to send us forth, in humility and meekness, along the demanding but enriching path of seeking peace." Amen.

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