Pope Francis appealed for peace today in his homily at Casa Santa Marta, saying that war only leaves innocent victims in its wake.
Drawing his reflection from the first reading of the Apostle James, the Holy Father called on Christians to not be accustomed to the scandal of war.
“Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war,” the Apostle James states.
The Pope told the faithful that we find news and images of wars around the world daily in the news, noting that “the spirit of war has taken a hold of us.”
“There are acts to commemorate the centenary of some Great War, millions dead…And everyone is scandalized!” he said. “But today it is the same! Instead of a great war, there are little wars everywhere, divided people…And to preserve one’s interest they kill, they kill each other.”
Recalling the story of Cain and Abel, the Holy Father said that while some may be scandalized about hearing one brother killing another, today millions of brothers kill each other. It has become such a frequent occurrence that we have become accustomed to it. While the First World War scandalized many, the Pope said that there is a great war occuring now, in various parts of the world that is “hidden” and it does not scandalize everyone. “So many die for a piece of land, for an ambition, for hate, for racial jealousy. Passion brings us to war, to the spirit of the world,” he said.
“Usually in front of a conflict,” he continued, “we find ourselves in a curious situation: to solve it, arguing, with the language of war. The language of peace doesn’t come first! And the consequences? Think of the starving children in the refugee camps…Think only of this: this is the fruit of the war! And if you want, think of the big banquet halls, of the feasts that are done by the owners of the arms industries, who manufacture weapons, the weapons end there. The child that is sick, starving, in a refugee camp and the great feasts, the good life of those who manufacture weapons.”
The 77 year old Pontiff went on to say that this “spirit of war” is not reduced to countries that are in conflict, but occur even in our own homes. “How many families are destroyed because the father, the mother are not capable of finding a path of peace and prefer war, to sue…War destroys!” he exclaimed.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray for peace, something that in today’s world has been reduced to just a word. “May the Lord help us understand this and save us from getting used to news of war,” he said.