07/10/2022, 13.54
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Pope to Sri Lankan authorities: do not ignore the cry of the poor

The Angelus appeal after yesterday's assault on the presidential palace and the announcement of Rajapaksa's resignation. On the "Sea Sunday" a thought also "for the seafarers stranded in war zones, so that they may return home".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The day after the storming of the presidential palace in Colombo, during one of the largest anti-government protests experienced by Sri Lanka since the beginning of the economic crisis, and the subsequent announcement by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that he will resign on 13 July, Pope Francis today renewed his appeal for peace in the country.

He did so at the end of today's Angelus, overlooking a St Peter's Square packed with pilgrims. "I join with the grief of the people of Sri Lanka, who continue to suffer the effects of political and economic instability," said the Holy Father. "Together with the country's bishops, I renew my appeal for peace. I implore those in authority not to ignore the cry of the poor and the needs of the people".

The Pope continued "I wish to address a special thought to the people of Libya, in particular the young people and all those who suffer from the country's serious economic and social problems."  "I urge everyone to once again seek convincing solutions with the help of the international community, through constructive dialogue and natural reconciliation."

The Pontiff did not fail to renew his prayers and "his closeness to the Ukrainian people, who are daily tormented by the brutal attacks from which ordinary people suffer". "May God lay ways to put an end to this insane war," he added.

Speaking on the theme of "Sea Sunday", which is celebrated today, Francis recalled all the workers in the maritime industry, but also the many chaplains and volunteers of Stella Maris: "I entrust to Our Lady the seafarers who are stranded in war zones, so that they may return home".

Before the recital of the Angelus, Pope Francis had commented on the Gospel of the Sunday liturgy, which today proposes the parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10:25-37). On a passing road, where a man lay beaten to a pulp and robbed, it was a Samaritan who saw him, had compassion on him and stopped to help him. "Do not forget this word 'compassion': it is what God feels when he sees us in a sin, in a misery," the pope said.

The Evangelist, according to the pontiff, makes it clear that he was on a journey. So, that Samaritan, despite having his own agenda and being headed for a distant destination, makes no excuses and allows himself to be challenged by what happens along the way. "It is significant that the first Christians were called 'disciples of the Way' (cf. Acts 9:2)," he explained. "In fact, the believer is very much like the Samaritan: like him, he is on a journey, he is a wayfarer. He knows that he is not a person who has "arrived", but wants to learn every day, by following the Lord Jesus, who said: I am the way, the truth and the life".

Walking in the footsteps of Christ, every man is therefore called to become a wayfarer, and to learn - like the Samaritan - to 'see' and 'have compassion'. The Pope emphasised the verb "to see": "The Gospel educates us to see: it guides each of us to understand reality correctly, overcoming preconceptions and dogmatism day after day".

Secondly, following Jesus teaches us "to have compassion, to notice others and to intervene like the Samaritan". In order not to stop only at blaming others and oneself, the holy father invited us to ask the Lord to come out of selfish indifference: "Let us ask Him to see and have compassion on those we meet along the way, especially those who suffer and are in need".

The Pontiff then recalled a recurring conversation with people who come to talk to him on the issue of almsgiving: "If you give alms without touching the reality, without looking into the eyes of the person in need, that alms is for you, not for him," he explained. "Think about this: do I touch the miseries, do I look into the eyes of the people who suffer, of the people I help? This is the prayer I suggest to you today: Lord may I see, may I have compassion, as you see me and have compassion on me'. 

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