The Holy Father called attention once again to the horrors of war during his weekly Angelus address on Sunday. Pope Francis’ remarks came the day after a prayer vigil held in St. Peter’s Square on Saturday that brought more than 100,000 people to pray for peace in Syria.
Reflecting on the Gospel of the day, the Holy Father began his address by speaking on the Christ’s message on being his disciples. “Many people, in fact, approached Jesus. They wanted to be his disciples; this especially happened after some miraculous sign, which confirmed him as the Messiah, the King of Israel,” the Holy Father noted.
“But Jesus does not want to delude anyone. He knows well what awaits him at Jerusalem, what way the Father wants him to go. It is the way of the cross, for the sacrifice of himself for the forgiveness of our sins.”
Pope Francis went on to say that to follow Jesus does not mean to be a member of a grand entourage, but rather, share the love and mercy of Christ to all. A true disciple of Christ will give up all he has because he has the greatest treasure.
“The Christian,” he stressed, “detaches himself from everything and rediscovers all of it in the logic of the Gospel, the logic of love and service.”
Contemplating on Christ’s parable of the king who determines whether he has the strength to go to war or asks for terms of peace, the Holy Father said that while the parable itself is not meant to address the subject of war, it still resonates with the current situation in Syria.
“This profound war of fighting evil is following Christ! This is carrying our cross! What point is there to fighting wars, many wars, if you are incapable of fighting this deeper war against evil? It is pointless! It is unacceptable.”
“Among other things this war against evil entails saying no to fratricidal hatred and the lies that serve it; saying no to violence in all its forms; saying no to the proliferation of weapons and their illegal trafficking. There is so much! So much!”
Pope Francis posed the question as to the wars occurring all over the world are truly “over real problems or is it a commercial war to sell illegal weapons,” adding that the only true fight is for peace and the common good.
Prior to reciting the Angelus with the faithful, Pope Francis reminded them that Sunday is the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. The Holy Father sent greetings to the Eastern Churches, both Orthodox and Catholic as well as entrusting to Her the peace in Syria and in the Middle East.
Concluding his address, the Holy Father thanked those who participated in the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Syria while urging them to continue to pray for peace in the region.
“I invite you to continue to pray so that the violence and devastation in Syria may cease immediately and that a renewed effort be undertaken to achieve a just solution to this fratricidal conflict,” he said.
“Let us pray also for other countries in the Middle East, in particular for Lebanon, that it may find its hoped-for stability and continue to be a model of peaceful coexistence; for Iraq, that sectarian violence may give way to reconciliation; and that the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians may proceed with determination and courage. Finally, let us pray for Egypt, that all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, may commit themselves to build up together a society dedicated to the good of the whole population.”