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Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Vatican: Pope Francis: a good shepherd is always close to his people

Pope Francis: a good shepherd is always close to his people
(Vatican Radio) A good shepherd is always close to his people, while a bad priest is only interested in power and money. That was Pope Francis' message at the Santa Marta Mass on Monday, as he reflected on the Gospel reading for the day. Listen to our report: In the reading from St Luke's Gospel, Jesus is in the synagogue where he meets a woman who has been crippled for years and is unable to stand up straight. The pope notes how Luke uses five verbs to describe Jesus' actions as the good shepherd who is always close to his people. Jesus saw, he called her, he spoke to her, he laid his hands on her and he cured her. Bad priests interested in power and money But the doctors of the Law, the Pharisees and Sadducees, those who are very distant from their people, rebuke him continuously. These were not good shepherds, the pope explained, as they were closed within their own world and not interested in their people. Or perhaps, he added, they were only interested in them when the service was over and they wanted to see how much money had been collected. Jesus feels compassion for marginalised Jesus, on the other hand, is close to the woman and this closeness comes from the compassion he feels in his heart. Pope Francis said Jesus was always there with the most marginalized people, those who had been rejected by the clerical crowd, the poor and the sick, the sinners and the lepers. The good shepherd comes close and feels compassion, he said, adding that he is not ashamed to touch the wounded flesh of those marginalized people, just as Jesus did. God teaches us to be close to others A good shepherd, the pope insisted, doesn't say, "Yes, yes, I'm with you in spirit," and keep his distance, but rather he does what God did in sending his Son: he taught us to show mercy and compassion by lowering himself, emptying himself and making himself a servant to others. Hypocrites are offended by Jesus' words The clerical crowd, Pope Francis continued, are only close to power and money, making friends with influential people and worrying about their own pockets. They are the hypocrites who are not interested in their people but become offended when Jesus accuses them, saying that they always follow the Law. We will be judged by closeness to others Luke tells us that the whole crowd rejoiced when Jesus' adversaries were humiliated – while that is a sin, the pope said, the people were glad because they had suffered so much. But the good shepherd, he concluded, is the one who sees, calls, speaks, touches and heals. Just as God came close to us through Jesus Christ, he said, all of us will be judged by how we try to be close to those who are hungry, sick,  in prison or in any kind of need.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis: ‎Courage is needed for the Kingdom of God to grow
To help the Kingdom of God grow, courage is needed to sow the mustard seed and mix the yeast, in the face of many who prefer a "pastoral care of conservation" without dirtying their hands.  Pope Francis made the point in his homily at Mass, Tuesday morning, in the chapel of the Vatican's Casa Santa Marta.  The Pope took his cue from Luke's Gospel where Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed and yeast , which though small, "have a power within" to grow.   Suffering to glory In his Letter to the Romans, the Pope said, St. Paul speaks about the many anxieties of life that are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us.  Commenting on the struggle between suffering and glory, the Pope said, in our sufferings there is in fact "an ardent expectation" for a "great revelation of the Kingdom of God".  It is an expectation that belongs not only to us but also to creation,  that is frail like us whoa are yearning for the "revelation of the children of God".  This inner strength that leads us to hope for the fullness of the Kingdom of God, the Pope pointed out, is the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit brings hope, growth The Pope said it is this hope that leads us to fullness, the hope of coming out of this prison, this limitation, this slavery, this corruption, and reaching glory, is a journey of hope.  And hope, the Pope said, is the gift of the Holy Spirit who is in us and leads us to liberation, to great glory. This is why Jesus says that inside this tiny mustard seed there is the force that "unleashes an unimaginable growth' ".  It is the same within us and in creation, the Pope pointed out.  It is the  the Holy Spirit that bursts forth and gives us hope. Getting hands dirty rather than being museum custodians The Pope noted that in the Church one can see both the courage and the fear to sow the seed and mix the yeast.  There are those who feel secure with a "pastoral care of conservation," that denies the Kingdom of God to grow. The Pope admitted there is always some loss in sowing the Kingdom of God. One loses the seed and gets hands dirty.  He warned those who preach the Kingdom of God with the illusion of  not getting dirty.  Comparing them to museum custodians, he said they prefer beautiful things without sowing that allows the inner force to burst forth, and without mixing the yeast that triggers growth.  The Pope said that both Jesus and Paul point to this passing from the slavery of sin to the fullness of glory.  It speaks of hope that does not disappoint, because like a mustard seed and yeast, hope is small and  humble like a servant but where there is hope, there is the Holy Ghost, who carries forward the Kingdom of God, the Pope added.  (from Vatican Radio)...
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Pope Francis warns warmongers: the only fruit of war is death
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of All Souls Day on Thursday commemorating all those who have died in war, reminding humanity not to forget past lessons and warning that the only fruit yielded by conflict is death.  His words of warning and his powerful condemnation of warmongers came during his homily at the Sicily-Rome American War Cemetery some 50 kilometers south of Rome. Taking the occasion to reiterate his deep conviction that "wars produce nothing more than cemeteries and death" the Pope said he chose to visit a war cemetery as a sign "in a moment when our humanity seems not to have learned the lesson, or doesn't want to learn it."  The Nettuno US War Cemetery and Memorial is the final resting place for thousands of men who died during military operations carried out to liberate Italy –  from Sicily to Rome – from Nazi Germany.  Its chapel contains a list of the 3095 missing. Pope Francis arrived at the War Cemetery early in the afternoon so that he could spend time reflecting and paying his personal respects to the 7,860 – mostly young – soldiers who gave their lives in the name of freedom and respect for humanity. Walking in poignant silence between the rows and rows of tombstones, Pope Francis bowed to read some of the names and dates inscribed in the white marble: stark reminders of the fact – as he stated during his homily – that the only fruit of war is death. To the somber congregation gathered on this holy day to honour all those who have died, Pope Francis said he chose to come to a place where thousands died in bloody combat, to appeal to the Lord – yet again "Please God: stop them. No more war. No more useless carnage." The Pope delivered his off-the-cuff homily with an emotion charged by the dramatic setting provided by hundreds of thousands of graves of young men whose hopes – he said - were cruelly severed, at a time in which the world is again at war and is even preparing to step-up war. "Please God – he prayed – everything is lost with war" "There are men, Francis said, who are doing everything to declare war and to enter into conflict. They end up destroying themselves and everything." Remarking on the fact that today is a day of hope, but also of tears, he said that the tears wept by those who have lost husbands, sons and friends at war should never be forgotten. "But humanity, the Pope continued, has not learnt the lesson and seems not to want to learn the lesson". Let us pray, he said, in a special way for all those young people caught up in conflict, "many of whom are dying every day in this piecemeal war". And he remembered the thousands of innocent children who are also paying the price of war. "Let us ask the Lord, Pope Francis concluded, to give us the grace to weep".               (from Vatican Radio)...
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