Pray for peace, avoid worldliness, pope says
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
“Jesus wept.” Pope Francis opened his morning homily with those words as he spoke about the wars and violence engulfing numerous parts of the world.
The Gospel reading for Nov. 19 began, “As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If this day you only knew what makes for peace –– but now it is hidden from your eyes.’”
“Jesus is weeping today, too, because we have preferred the path of war, the path of hatred, the path of enmity,” the pope said during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae where he lives.
“The whole world” seems to be at war today, the pope said, and there is “no justification” for it.
“A war can be –– quote-unquote –– ‘justified’ for many reasons, but when the whole world is embroiled in war like it is today –– there is a world war (being fought) in pieces, here, there, everywhere –– there is no justification. And God weeps. Jesus weeps,” the pope said.
“It would do us good to ask for the grace of tears for this world that does not recognize the path of peace,” the pope said. “Let us ask for the conversion of hearts.”
Pope Francis prayed that the upcoming Year of Mercy would bring with it “the grace that the world would discover again the ability to weep for its crimes, for those who make war.”
“We are approaching Christmas,” the pope said, and soon everywhere “there will be lights, decorated trees, even Nativity scenes,” but if they are not signs of faith in Jesus and a commitment to following him, then it is “all fake.”
“The world continues to make war,” he said. “The world has not understood the path of peace.”
All the wars and violence lead to “ruin, thousands of children without an education, many innocent people dead and a lot of money in the pockets of those who sell weapons,” the pope said. “Jesus once said, ‘You cannot serve two masters: Either God or riches.’ War is choosing riches.”
Choosing war, he said, is like saying, “’Let’s make weapons, that way we can balance the budget a bit and move our own interests forward.’ The Lord has strong words for those people: ‘Be cursed!’ He said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’ Those who decide for war, who make wars, are cursed; they are criminals.”
While arms sellers around the world are getting rich, the pope said, peacemakers are humbly helping people one at a time.
Describing Blessed Teresa of Kolkata as an “icon of our age,” Pope Francis said she was one of those humble peacemakers. Cynics would ask what good Mother Teresa did by caring for the dying, but their question simply shows they do not understand the path to peace, he said.
In an earlier talk on Nov. 16, Pope Francis warned against the very small, hidden way worldliness takes root in a culture and then leads to apostasy and religious persecution.
Worldliness seeps into one’s life very slowly and then grows, it seems justified and backed by sound reason, “and in the end it contaminates, and many evils come from there,” he said.
The pope asked that people pray that God protect them from taking on a worldly mentality and the desire to be “normal” and like everyone else. He also asked that the church always keep its identity grounded in Jesus.