After 54 years and 3 days, the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land celebrate in the church of St. John the Baptist, in Qasr Al-Yahud. A place full of landmines restored as an "oasis of prayer". The hope of a return of pilgrims with the end of the new coronavirus pandemic.
"The Saints show us that we can always give praise, in good times and bad, because God is the faithful Friend, and His love never fails ", " In the future of the world and in the hopes of the Church there are the "little ones": those who do not consider themselves better than others, who are aware of their own limitations and their sins, who do not want to lord it over others, who, in God the Father, recognize that we are all brothers and sisters.”
In his message for the 29th World Day of the Sick, Francis notes that health is a primary common good. The pandemic has shown shortcomings in healthcare systems and the elderly and the most vulnerable are not always guaranteed access to treatment in an equitable manner. Still, the crisis has also highlighted the dedication and generosity of so many.
Francis has changed the rule in canon law that limited these offices to men. Thus, “the awareness will grow, through a liturgical act (of institution) as well, of the precious contribution that many lay persons, including women, have been offering for some time to the life and mission of the Church.”
The pontiff turns his thoughts to the victims of 6 January in Washington. “I urge government authorities and the entire population to maintain a high sense of responsibility, in order to soothe tempers, promote national reconciliation, and protect the democratic values rooted in American society.”
Foreign faithful and missionaries are singled out as the source of the new Covid-19 epidemic in Hebei. In reality, the accused villages have no Christians and the Church's religious activities have been blocked since Christmas Eve. Like Nero, looking for a scapegoat. The result: churches closed down in the name of prevention.
On the solemnity of Epiphany, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Altar of the Chair. Worshippers, cardinals, bishops, and choir kept at a distance because of COVID-19. It Is urgent “to understand more fully what it means to be worshippers of the Lord.” We must ‘lift up our eyes,’ ‘set out on a journey’ and ‘see’.” We must “cast off the dictatorship of the self, the constant temptation to withdraw into ourselves and our own concerns.” “Herod and the leading citizens of Jerusalem represent a worldliness enslaved to appearances and immediate attractions.”
At the Angelus, Pope Francis extended his wishes to the Orthodox who celebrate Christmas tomorrow. “Christ’s light shine[s] in every place and at every moment [. . .] through the proclamation of the Gospel,” Francis said. “The star is Christ, but we too can and must also be the star for our brothers and sisters,” he added. The pontiff also expressed hope for peace in Central Africa.
Commentary on the Gospel of the 2nd Sunday of Christmas (John 1,1-18).
Speaking before praying the Angelus in the library of the apostolic palace, Pope Francis emphasizes that "God always wants to communicate with us". " God became flesh … because it indicates our human condition in all its weakness, in all its frailty." In the new year "things will get better to the extent that we work for the common good, above all for the disadvantaged".
Pope Francis prays the Angelus and asks us to entrust " our anxieties and our torments " to the Mother of God. Today we celebrate the 54th World Day of Peace, which this year has as its theme "A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace". "Developing a mentality and a culture of “care taking” so that indifference, rejection and rivalry – which unfortunately prevail – will be defeated ". Prayer for the children of Yemen and for the bishop of Owerri (Nigeria), kidnapped a few days ago together with his driver.
Sciatica has forced Pope Francis to delegate the celebration of the Mass on the solemnity of the Mother of God and 54th World Day of Peace, on the theme "The culture of care as a path to peace". “Speaking badly corrupts and decays, whereas blessing restores life and gives the strength needed to begin anew”. “We are not in the world to die, but to give life”. “This will be a good year if we take care of others, as Our Lady does with us”.
Commentary on the Gospel on the Solemnity of the Mother of God (Luke 2: 16-21).