Pope: Appeal for Indonesia hit by a new tsunami
The disaster occurred between Java and Sumatra. "Solidarity and the support of the International Community". "The Gospel of Mary's visit to Elizabeth prepares us to live Christmas well, communicating to us the dynamism of faith and charity". "To live an extrovert Christmas, but not dispersed: in the center there is not our 'I', but the You of Jesus and the you of the brothers". A thought for "all those who are far from their family and their land".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis' "thoughts" and prayers are with the "people of Indonesia, affected by violent natural disasters, which have caused serious losses in human lives, numerous missing and homeless and extensive material damage" . This morning, around 4 am (Jakarta time), an eruption and landslide under the sea caused by a tsunami in the Sanda Strait connecting the island of Java and that of Sumatra. The provisional toll is over 160 deaths and nearly 800 injured.
Speaking today to the pilgrims after the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, Francis added: "I invite everyone to join me in prayer for the victims and their loved ones. I am spiritually close to the displaced and to all the people who are so sorely tried, imploring God for relief in their suffering. I appeal that our solidarity and the support of the International Community is not lacking to these our brothers and sisters". And immediately he invited the pilgrims to recite a Hail Mary.
Previously, the pontiff focused on the Sunday gospel (4th of Advent, C, Luke 1: 39-45), which recounts the meeting between Mary and Elizabeth.
"This episode - he explained - helps us to read the mystery of man's encounter with God with a very special light. An encounter that is not under the banner of amazing prodigies, but rather in the name of faith and charity . In fact, Mary is blessed because she believed: the encounter with God is the fruit of faith. Zaccharias instead, who did not believe, remained deaf and dumb, to grow in faith during the long silence: without faith we inevitably remain deaf to the consoling voice of God; and we remain unable to pronounce words of consolation and hope for our brothers ".
"Faith, in turn, is nourished in charity. The Evangelist tells us that "Mary got up and went quickly" (v. 39) to Elizabeth. 'She stood up': a gesture full of concern. She could have stayed home to prepare for the birth of her son, instead he cares first of others than of himself, demonstrating in fact that she is already a disciple of that Lord she carries in her womb. The event of the birth of Jesus began like this, with a simple gesture of charity; moreover, authentic charity is always the fruit of God's love ".
"The Gospel of Mary's visit to Elizabeth prepares us to live Christmas well, communicating the dynamism of faith and charity. This dynamism is the work of the Holy Spirit: the Spirit of Love who fecundated Mary's virginal womb and who urged her to come to the service of her elderly relative. A dynamism full of joy, as seen in the encounter between the two mothers, which is all a hymn of joyous exultation in the Lord, who does great things with the little ones who trust Him. May the Virgin Mary obtain for us the grace of living a Christmas open, but not dispersed: that in the center there is not our 'I', but the You of Jesus and the you of our brothers, especially those who need a hand. Then we will leave room for Love which, even today, wants to become flesh and come to live among us".
After the appeal for Indonesia, underlining the beauty of being in the family during the Christmas holidays, Francis had a thought for "all those who are far from their family and their land". "Dear brothers and sisters - he said - our Heavenly Father does not forget you and does not abandon you. If you are a Christian, I hope you find a true family in the Church, where you can experience the warmth of fraternal love. And to everyone who is far from their families, Christians and non-Christians, I say: the doors of the Christian community are open, Jesus is born for everyone and gives everyone the love of God ".