Pope to Israelis and Palestinians: violence kills the future
At the Angelus Francis appeals after attacks in Jerusalem and months-long clashes. "Let us be awoken in the time of Advent." Prayers for homeless man who froze to death not far from St. Peter's.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Violence kills the future, breaking the lives of the youngest and weakening hopes for peace," said Pope Francis today - at the end of the Angelus recited before the faithful in St. Peter's Square - launching an appeal against the violence that has returned to shake the Holy Land for months.
The pontiff recalled the two "cowardly attacks" that scarred Jerusalem on Wednesday with the death of a 16-year-old Jewish student and the 14-year-old Palestinian boy killed on the same day by the Israeli army in clashes in Nablus.
"I hope that the Israeli and Palestinian authorities," he continued, "take more to heart the search for dialogue to build mutual trust without which there will never be a peace solution for the Holy Land.
Father then recalled Burkhard Scheffler "who died three days ago here under the colonnade of St. Peter's Square: who died of cold."
Then greeting participants in a march against sexual violence against women, he denounced how it is unfortunately "a general and widespread reality everywhere and also used as a weapon of war. Let us not tire of saying no to war, no to violence, yes to dialogue, yes to peace; especially for the martyred Ukrainian people."
Before the recitation of the prayer - commenting on the Gospel passage proposed by the liturgy on the Sunday that opens Advent - Francis had invited us to turn our gaze to Jesus who comes. "This," he commented, "is the foundation of our hope, it is what sustains us even in the most difficult and painful moments of our lives.
"God," he added, "hides in the most common and ordinary situations of our lives. He does not come in extraordinary events, but in everyday things. And there, in our daily work, in a chance encounter, in the face of a person in need, even when we face days that appear gray and monotonous, right there is the Lord, who calls us, speaks to us and inspires our actions."
But there is a danger of not noticing his coming. Jesus," the pope recalled, "says that in the time of Noah 'they ate and drank 'and did not notice anything until the flood came and swept everyone away.'
Hence the invitation in the Advent season, "let us be shaken out of slumber and wake up from sleep. Let us try to ask ourselves: am I aware of what I am living, am I attentive, am I awake? Am I trying to recognize God's presence in everyday situations, or am I distracted and a bit overwhelmed by things? If we are not aware of his coming today, we will also be unprepared when he comes at the end of time. Therefore," he concluded, "let us remain vigilant.