Peace is God’s dream and plan for humanity, yet this plan is always met with opposition from men and Satan.
During Pope Francis’ homily during the Mass he celebrated this morning at Koševo Stadium during his one-day apostolic visit to Sarajevo, the Pope made this observation, calling for peace and condemning war.
“You know this well, having experienced it [war] here: how much suffering, how much destruction, how much pain! Today, dear brothers and sisters, the cry of God’s people goes up once again from this city, the cry of all men and women of good will: war never again!”
The Holy Father also turned to the conflicts presently afflicting the world, saying, “They are a kind of third world war being fought piecemeal and, in the context of global communications, we sense an atmosphere of war.”
Within this atmosphere of war, the Pope said, we are to realize God has gifted His peace through the Holy Spirit.
Francis stressed how God sent his Son so that we might have peace. Peacemaking, he explained, is a work to be carried forward each day, step by step, without ever growing tired.
The Argentine Pontiff posed the question: ‘So how does one do this, how do we build peace?’ For this, he said, it is important to work toward justice, not one that is “proclaimed, imagined and planned,” but one “put into practice” and “lived out.” The Gospel, he added, “teaches us that the ultimate fulfillment of justice is love: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.'”
When by the grace of God we truly follow this commandment, the Pope pointed out, “How things change! Because we ourselves change! Those whom I looked upon as my enemy really have the same face as I do, the same heart, the same soul. We have the same Father in heaven.”
The Pontiff recalled the reading from Saint Paul: ‘as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Col 3:12-13). This attitude to be lived out in our daily lives, Pope Francis said, is necessary “to become artisans of peace.”
“But we should not fool ourselves into thinking that this all depends on us! We would fall into an illusive moralizing,” he warned. “Peace is a gift from God, not in the magical sense, but because with his Spirit he can imprint these attitudes in our hearts and in our flesh, and can make us true instruments of his peace. And, going further, the Apostle says that peace is a gift of God because it is the fruit of his reconciliation with us.”
“Only if we allow ourselves to be reconciled with God,” Pope Francis underscored, “can human beings become artisans of peace.”
The Holy Father concluded, calling on the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, for several graces, including that which sows peace and not war nor discord.
After the Mass, Pope Francis lunched privately with the six bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina–whom the Pope received in audience in the Vatican in March, on the occasion of their five-yearly ad limina visit–and the papal entourage in the apostolic nunciature.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-francis-homily-at-kosevo-stadium