Pope: Prayer for the Caucasus, migrants and refugees. Patience and God's grace

At the Angelus Pope Francis asks for a silent prayer for the conflict in the Caucasus.  His meeting with the Armenian Patriarch Karekine II is cancelled.  A prayer also for migrants and refugees, on the World Day dedicated to them.  Obedience does not consist in saying "yes" or "no", but in acting, in cultivating the vine, in realizing the Kingdom of God. Jesus does not point to tax collectors and prostitutes as models of life, but as "privileged of Grace ”, which God offers to anyone who opens up and converts to Him. God is patient with us:… He anxiously awaits our“ yes ”.

 

 


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis today asked the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus for a "silent" prayer, worried about the news of the clashes "in the Caucasus", where Armenian separatists from Nagorno Karabakh fought  against the Azerbaijani army causing deaths on both sides. 

"I pray for peace in the Caucasus - Francis said - and I ask the parties in conflict to make concrete gestures of good will and fraternity, which can lead to solving problems not with the use of force and weapons, but through  dialogue and negotiation.  Let us pray together, in silence, for peace in the Caucasus.

According to AsiaNews sources, Armenian Patriarch Karekine II was due to meet Pope Francis today.  But the meeting was reduced because the patriarch immediately returned to Armenia.

After the Marian prayer, the pontiff also recalled the World Day for Migrants and Refugees, which is celebrated today.

Previously, the pope had commented on today's Gospel (26th Sunday for year A, Matthew 21: 28-32), the so-called “parable of the two sons”.  "At the father's invitation to work in the vineyard - said Francis - the first son impulsively replies" no ", but then repents and goes there;  on the other hand the second son, who immediately replies "yes", in reality does not.  Obedience does not consist in saying "yes" or "no", but in acting, in cultivating the vine, in realizing the Kingdom of God. With this simple example, Jesus wants to overcome a religion understood only as an external and habitual practice,  which does not affect people's lives and attitudes".

“This affirmation - he continued - must not lead us to think that those who do not follow God's commandments and morals do well, and say: "Anyway, those who go to Church are worse than us!".  Jesus does not point to tax collectors and prostitutes as models of life, but as "privileged of Grace", which God offers to anyone who opens up and converts to Him. In fact, these people, listening to his preaching, repented and changed their lives  .  In today's Gospel, the one who makes the best impression is the first brother, not because he said "no" to his father, but because after the "no" he converted to "yes" ”.  And he added: “God is patient with us:… He anxiously awaits our 'yes', to welcome us again into his fatherly arms and fill us with his limitless mercy”.

“But conversion, changing the heart - he concluded - is a process of purification from moral encrustations;  this is why it is never painless.  The path of conversion always passes through the cross.  There is no holiness without renunciation and without spiritual combat, to do what we can, and to come to live in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes.  Today's Gospel calls into question the way we live Christian life, which is not made up of dreams or beautiful aspirations, but of concrete commitments, to open ourselves more and more to the will of God and to love for our brothers and sisters.  But this, the smallest concrete sign, cannot be done without grace ”.

On the occasion of today's World Day for Migrants and Refugees, the pontiff recalled the monument “Angels unaware”, dedicated to migrants and on display in St Peter's Square and blessed last year.  Francis dedicated today's Day to "internal refugees" with a Message published last May, the title of which is "Like Jesus Christ, forced to flee.  Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating internally displaced persons ”.

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