Pope pleads for dialogue instead of hatred and revenge in the Holy Land
The pontiff appeals for an end to the violence in Israel and Palestine. He expresses sorrow for the death of migrants in a shipwreck in Calabria (Italy). Commenting on the Gospel passage of Jesus's temptations, he notes that “one cannot defeat” the devil “by negotiating with him,” but “by countering him in faith with the divine Word.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis appealed again for an end to violence in the Holy Land during today’s Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square.
“Distressing news continues to arrive from the Holy Land,” he said. So “many people killed, even children… How can this spiral of violence be stopped? I renew my appeal to make dialogue prevail over hatred and vengeance, and I pray to God for the Palestinians and Israelis, that they may find the path to fraternity and peace, with the help of the international community.”
The pontiff also expressed concern over the situation in Burkina Faso, where terrorist attacks continue, and sorrow after a boat carrying migrants sank off the coast of Italy, near Crotone.
“Forty dead have already been recovered, including many children,” he said. “I pray for each one of them, for the missing and for the other surviving migrants. I thank those who have brought relief and those who are providing shelter. May Our Lady sustain these brothers and sisters of ours. And let us not forget the tragedy of the war in Ukraine; the war has already continued for a year. And let us not forget the suffering of the Syrian and Turkish people due to the earthquake.”
Before the Angelus, Francis spoke about the Gospel passage about the temptations of Jesus (Mt 4:1-11) in the liturgy on this first Sunday of Lent.
“The devil,” he said, “enters the scene to divide Jesus from the Father and to distract him from his mission of unity for us.” He does this by trying “to instil in him three powerful “poisons”, namely attachment, mistrust, and power.
It is first “with persuasive arguments [that] the devil tries to convince Jesus: ‘You are hungry, why must you fast? Listen to your need and satisfy it, you have the right and the power: transform the stones into bread.’ Then [comes] the second poison, mistrust: ‘Are you sure the Father wants what is good for you? Test him, blackmail him! [. . .] Finally, power: ‘You have no need for your Father! Why wait for his gifts? [. . .], take everything for yourself, and you will be powerful!’”
These temptations are the same the devil uses to “make us no longer feel like brothers and sisters among ourselves, to lead us to solitude and desperation.” Yet Jesus overcame temptations by avoiding arguing with the devil and responded instead with the Word of God.
This “is an invitation to us too; one cannot defeat him by negotiating with him, he is stronger than us. We defeat the devil by countering him in faith with the divine Word. In this way, Jesus teaches us to defend unity with God and among ourselves from the attacks of the divider.”
At the same time, we must “ask ourselves: What place does the Word of God have in my life? Do I turn to it in my spiritual struggles? If I have a vice or a recurrent temptation, why do I not obtain help by seeking out a verse of the Word of God that responds to that vice?”
Finally, “May Mary, who welcomed the Word of God and with her humility defeated the pride of the divider, accompany us in the spiritual struggle of Lent.”