Pope: ‘worrying’' news from Ukraine, ‘every effort’ is needed for peace
At the Angelus Francis spoke again about the crisis in Ukraine and called on the Virgin Mary to move “the conscience of the political leaders”. In the Gospel passage dedicated to the Beatitudes, the pontiff praises the “identity” of Jesus’ disciples who do not find joy “in money” or “material goods”, but “in the gifts they received every day from God: life, creation” and the desire “to share”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – At the end of today’s Angelus address, Pope Francis made a heartfelt appeal for peace in the Ukraine to the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square, urging them to pray “in silence” for a few seconds.
New from that country “is very worrying,” he said. For this reason, “I entrust every effort for peace to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and to the conscience of the political leaders” so that “every effort for peace” can be made.
As he did last Wednesday at the general audience, the pontiff spoke about the tensions between Russia and Ukraine, at a time when an attack by Moscow appear increasingly possible. Hence, he renewed his call to make “every effort” for peace.
Before the Angelus prayer, commenting on the Gospel passage dedicated to the Beatitudes, the pope stressed that they “define the identity of the disciple of Jesus”, even though they “may sound strange, almost incomprehensible to those who are not disciples”.
The first one is the basis of all the others. “’Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God’. Blessed are you poor. [. . .] In what sense!” asks the pontiff. “In the sense that disciples Jesus do not find their joy in money, power, or other material goods; but in the gifts they receive every day from God: life, creation, brothers and sisters, and so on. These are gifts of life. They are content to share even the goods they possess, because they live according to the logic of God.
“And what is the logic of God? Gratuitousness. The disciple has learned to live in gratuitousness. This poverty is also an attitude towards the meaning of life, because Jesus’ disciples do not think about possessing it, about already knowing everything, but rather they know they must learn every day.” Hence the “disciple of Jesus [. . .] is a humble, open person, far from prejudice and inflexibility.”
The pope then mentions last Sunday's Gospel in which Simon Peter, an “expert fisherman, accepts Jesus’ invitation to cast his nets at an unusual hour, and, full of wonder at the miraculous catch, leaves the boat and all his goods to follow the Lord.”
This episode is an exhortation and shows the way to truly become disciples of Christ, putting aside given certainties. “Peter shows himself to be docile by leaving everything, and in this way, he becomes a disciple. Instead, those who are too attached to their own ideas and their own securities, find it difficult to truly follow Jesus. [. . .] Perhaps they listen to him, but they do not follow him. And so, they fall into sadness.”
In a world where ideologies prevail, where everyone tends to show off their own certainties, the disciples “know how to question themselves, how to humbly seek God every day, and this allows them to delve into reality, grasping its richness and complexity.”
Whoever follows Jesus “accepts the paradox of the Beatitudes: they declare that those who are poor, who lack many goods and recognize this, are blessed” rather than “those who are rich, with many goods, who receive plaudits and are the envy of many, who have all the certainties”.
“Jesus, on the contrary, declares worldly success to be a failure, since it is based on a selfishness that inflates and then leaves the heart empty.” Instead, following Christ “requires a journey, sometimes wearisome”.
However, by “freeing us from the slavery of self-centredness, [he] breaks our locks, dissolves our hardness, and opens up to us true happiness, which is often found where we do not expect it to be.”
By way of conclusion, Francis called on the faithful “to be ‘inwardly unhinged’ by the paradox of the Beatitudes,” helped by “Our Lady, first disciple of the Lord,” who shows us how to “live as open and joyful disciples.”