Pope: 100 years from the 'senseless slaughter'. We must invest in peace, not in war
At the Angelus, Pope Francis remembers the end of the Great War, and asks everyone to "reject the culture of war". The gesture of St. Martin, of sharing with the poor, "shows everyone the way to build peace". The "poor and generous widow as a model of Christian life to be imitated". "To give to the Lord and our brothers and sisters not something of ours, but ourselves". Thirteen consecrated men and three lay faithful, martyrs of the Spanish civil war, beatified in Barcelona. Next Sunday, November 18, the second World Day of the Poor is celebrated.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Invest in peace, not war!" this was the appeal that, after the Angelus, Pope Francis addressed today to the whole world in memory of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, which Benedict XVI defined "the senseless slaughter". It is estimated that the war of 1915-1918 was one of the bloodiest with 37 million dead, counting 16 million killed and 20 million injured and mutilated both military and civilians.
Recalling that at 13.30 the bells of St. Peter, along with those of the whole world will sound in remembrance of the end of the conflict, Francis added that the memory of the 100 years "is a severe warning to reject the culture of war and to look for every legitimate means to put an end to the conflicts that still bleed several regions of the world ".
"While we pray for all the victims of that terrible tragedy - he continued - we say forcefully: invest in peace, not in war! And, as an emblematic sign, we take that of the great Saint Martin of Tours, who we remember today: he cut his cloak in two to share it with a poor man. This gesture of human solidarity indicates to everyone the way to build peace ".
Previously, commenting on today's Gospel (32nd Sunday for year, B, Mark 12, 38-44), the Pope compared the two characters present in the passage: "the scribe and the widow. The first represents the important, rich, influential people; the other represents the last, the poor, the weak ".
The superiority and the vanity of the scribes, "leads them to contempt for those who count little or are in a disadvantageous economic position, like widows". The widow instead, "goes to put in the treasury of the temple two coins, all that remained, she makes her offer trying to go unnoticed, almost ashamed. But, precisely in this humility, she performs an act charged with great religious and spiritual significance. That gesture full of sacrifice does not escape the attentive gaze of Jesus, who in fact sees the total gift of self shine to which he wants to educate his disciples ".
"Our 'giving' to God in prayer and to others in charity - he emphasized - should always shy away from ritualism and formalism, as well as from the logic of calculation, and be an expression of gratuitousness. Just as Jesus did. Jesus did not make us pay for redemption! ... This is why Jesus indicates that poor and generous widow as a model of Christian life to be imitated ... May the Virgin Mary, a poor woman who gave herself totally to God, sustain us in the purpose of giving to the Lord and to the brothers not something of us, but ourselves, in a humble and generous offering ".
After the Marian prayer, Francis said that yesterday in Barcelona, Fr. Teodoro Illera del Olmo (1883-1936) and fifteen fellow martyrs were beatified. These are thirteen consecrated persons and three lay faithful. "These new blesseds - the pontiff said - were all killed for their faith, in different places and dates, during the war and religious persecution of the last century in Spain. We praise the Lord for these courageous witnesses ". And he asked those present to applaud them.
Finally, the Pope recalled that next Sunday, November 18, the Second World Day of the Poor will be celebrated, with many initiatives of evangelization, prayer and sharing.
The Day was commissioned precisely by Pope Francis, to sensitize the world to sharing with the poor. "Even here in St. Peter's Square - he said - a health clinic has been set up which will offer treatment to those in need for a week. I hope that this Day will foster an increasing attention to the needs of the last and the marginalized ".