09/18/2022, 13.44
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Pope: 'Saddened' by violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan, 'close to victims'

In an apeal at the end of the Marian prayer, Francis again turned his thoughts "to the martyred people of Ukraine" and to "every land bloodied by war." A prayer request "also for the people of Le Marche" affected by floods. At the Angelus, the pontiff recalled the parable of the dishonest steward, who "acts cunningly" to overcome difficulties. 

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Saddened" by the recent fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia" and "spiritual closeness to the families of the victims," Pope Francis today recalled the outbreaks of tension that re-exploded in recent days between Yerevan and Baku, which claimed at least 200 lives between the two sides.

Speaking at the Angelus the pontiff addressed the parties urging them "to respect the ceasefire, with a view to a peace agreement." For, he cautioned, "let us not forget that peace is possible when weapons are silenced and dialogue begins."

The reminder of the violence between Armenians and Azeris was followed by a request for prayer "for the martyred Ukrainian people" and for peace "in every land bloodied by war," an appeal to which the many faithful present in St. Peter's Square today responded with a long and warm applause.

He also had a prayer request for the "people of the Marche [region in central Italy] hit by floods: I pray," he said, "for the dead, for the injured, for those who have suffered damage" so that the "Lord may give strength to that community. At the conclusion of the Marian prayer, the pope also addressed a brief passage to the recent trip to Kazakhstan to participate in the VIIth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, a meeting laden with meaning about which he plans to speak more in depth "on Wednesday at the Audience."

In introducing the Angelus, the pontiff emphasized "the teaching on the use of goods" that Jesus offers us today in the parable from Luke's Gospel of today's Liturgy and which "appears a little difficult to understand." A dishonest steward, who steals and then, discovered by his master, acts cunningly to come out of that situation. He "acts cunningly, seeks a solution, is resourceful. Jesus takes his cue from this story," the pope says, "to give us a first provocation: 'The children of this world,' he says, 'toward their peers are more cunning than the children of light'" (v. 8). That is, it happens that those who move in darkness, according to certain worldly criteria, know how to get by even in the midst of trouble, know how to be smarter than others; on the other hand, the disciples of Jesus, that is, we, are sometimes asleep, or we are naive."

Francis refers to "moments of personal, social, but also ecclesial crisis: sometimes we let ourselves be overcome by discouragement, or we fall into complaining and victimhood. Instead," Jesus says, "we could also be shrewd according to the Gospel, be awake and attentive to discern reality, be creative to seek good solutions, for ourselves and for others. Hence the "teaching" on the use of possessions: "Make friends of yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, they may receive you into eternal dwellings" (v. 9). So, to inherit eternal life "it is not necessary to accumulate the goods of this world, but what counts is the charity that we will have lived in our fraternal relationships." For the pontiff, Christ's invitation is not to use the goods of this world only for our "selfishness," but to use them "to generate friendships, to create good relationships, to act in charity, to promote fraternity and to exercise care for the weakest."

In conclusion, Francis explains that even in today's world there are "stories of corruption like the one the Gospel tells us; dishonest conduct, unjust policies, selfishness that dominates the choices of individuals and institutions, and many other dark situations." However, Christians cannot become discouraged or "let it pass, remain indifferent. On the contrary, we are called," the pope admonishes, "to be creative in doing good, with the prudence and shrewdness of the Gospel, using the goods of this world -- not only the material ones, but all the gifts we have received from the Lord -- not to enrich ourselves, but to generate fraternal love and social friendship.

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