Independent Catholic News
The madness of war was the main subject of Pope Francis’ homily during morning Mass yesterday. He spoke on the same theme later during his address to pilgrims in St Peter’s Square after the Angelus.
“War is the suicide of humanity because it kills the heart and kills love,” Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta chapel. Among the congregation was a group of about 80 relatives of Italian soldiers killed in peacekeeping missions in the last four to five years, particularly in Afghanistan, along with a number of soldiers wounded during the same missions.
June 2nd is ‘Republic Day’ in Italy, which commemorates the foundation of the Italian republic in 1946. Archbishop Vincenzo Pelvi, head of the Military Ordinary in Italy, who concelebrated Mass with the Holy Father, said it was a “significant day” in which the country expresses “a debt of love for military families.”
“The Lord hears the prayers of everyone!” – not only Solomon’s prayers on the day of the consecration of the Temple, but also the prayer of all of us. Pope Francis emphasised that fact, citing the Gospel story of the centurion who goes to Jesus to ask for the healing of his servant. He said our God is such that He hears the prayers of each one of us – not as an “anonymous” mass of prayers, but the prayers of each and every individual. “Our God is the God of the great and the God of small, our God is personal,” He listens to everyone with His heart, and loves “from the heart”:
“Today we have come to pray for our dead, for our wounded, for the victims of the madness that is war! It is the suicide of humanity, because it kills the heart, it kills precisely that which is the message of the Lord: it kills love! Because war comes from hatred, from envy, from desire for power, and – we’ve seen it many times – it comes from that hunger for more power.”
So many times, the Pope noted, we’ve seen “the great ones of the earth want to solve” local problems, economic problems, economic crises “with a war.”
“Why? Because, for them, money is more important than people! And war is just that: it is an act of faith in money, in idols, in idols of hatred, in the idol that leads to killing one’s brother, which leads to killing love. It reminds me of the words of God our Father to Cain, who, out of envy, had killed his brother: ‘Cain, where is your brother?’ Today we can hear this voice: it is God our Father who weeps, crying for this madness of ours, who asks all of us, ‘Where is your brother?’ Who says to the powerful of the earth, ‘Where is your brother? What have you done!’”
From this exhortation, Pope Francis went on to pray to the Lord, that He might “take all evil far away from us,” repeating this prayer “even with tears, with the tears of the heart”: “‘Turn to us, o Lord, and have mercy on us, because we are sad, we are distressed. See our misery, and our pain and forgive all sins,’ because behind a war there are always sins: there is the sin of idolatry, the sin of exploiting men on the altar of power, sacrificing them. ‘Turn to us, o Lord, and have mercy, because we are sad and distressed. See our misery and our pain.’ We are confident that the Lord will hear us and will do anything to give us the spirit of consolation. So be it.”
Later during the Angelus with pilgrims in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis appealed for prayers for victims of war and expressed sorrow and concern over the war that has been raging in Syria for the past two years. He observed that it particularly strikes the defenseless civilian population that hopes for a just peace and comprehension.
Pope Francis said: “Wars are always madness: all is lost in war, all is to be gained in peace”. Speaking after the recitation of the Angelus, the Pope asked those present to pray in silence for those who have fallen in war and for all other victims of conflict. And he spoke of the tragic consequences of war which – he said – brings with it death, estruction, huge economic and environmental damage, as well as the scourge of kidnapping.
“In deploring all of these” – Francis continued –“I wish to assure my prayers and my solidarity for those who are being held in captivity and for their families, and I appeal to the humanity of the kidnappers to free their victims”. Let us always pray – he concluded – “for our beloved Syria”.
Pope Francis concluded his address with another heartfelt appeal for prayers for those who have fallen in war, for those who are wounded in conflict, and for their families.
Source: Vatican Radio
Independent Catholic News