Pope Francis made an impassioned appeal for peace in the world during his Angelus address, echoing his words yesterday at the World War I memorial in Redipuglia. The visit to the Austro-Hungarian cemetery and memorial in northern Italy “makes us understand how war is madness!”
“A madness,” he said, “which humanity has not yet learned the lesson!” “When will we learn, when will we learn this lesson?”
With today’s Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, the Holy Father invited the faithful to “look at Jesus crucified to understand that hatred and evil are defeated by forgiveness and goodness. To understand that war only increases evil and death.”
Through the Cross, Hope is Restored
Prior to the recitation of the Angelus, the Pope reflected on the reasons why it is celebrated in the Church He stressed that the Church does not exalt a cross or all crosses, but rather, the Cross of Christ, which reveals the love of God for all humankind.
“The Cross of Jesus expresses two things,” he said. [It expresses] all the negative strength of evil, and all gentle omnipotence of the mercy of God.”
“Jesus was there, on the cross, faithful to the end to the loving plan of the Father. It is precisely this reason why God “exalted” Jesus, conferring on Him a universal kingship.”
The cross, he continued, brings us to contemplate God’s infinite love and from it, flows His mercy for the world.
“Through the cross of Christ, evil is overcome, death is defeated, life is given to us, hope is restored,” he said. “The Cross of Jesus is our only true hope! This is important!”
Prayers for those Persecuted
The 77 year old Pontiff turned his thoughts towards those persecuted for “their faithfulness to Christ”. The Pope said that such persecutions not only occur in countries where religious liberty isn’t guaranteed, but also countries where human rights are protected in principles. Many Christians there, he said, still “encounter limitations and discriminations.”
“Today we remember them and pray in a particular way for them,” he said.
Before leading the faithful in the recitation of the Angelus prayer, the Pope entrusted the Church to Our Lady of Sorrows, whose feast is celebrated tomorrow.
“To Her I entrust the present and the future of the Church, so that we may all discover and receive the message of love and salvation of the Cross of Jesus,” he said.