Myanmar and the Holy Land: the urgency of fraternity

Pope Francis is very much aware of the sad events that are happening in Myanmar or in the Holy Land: he has called for peace, for the cessation of weapons and described the situation as a "serious wound for fraternity and peaceful coexistence among citizens". 

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Photo: ©2021 Catholic News Service / U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The dramas and sufferings of the last days in Myanmar and the Holy Land were echoed this Sunday at the center of Christianity, first in the Vatican Basilica and then in St. Peter's Square, with Pope Francis' voice broken by grief.

On the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, the Pontiff celebrated the Mass of the feast at the Altar of the Chair with a representation of the faithful of Myanmar residing in Rome, just when that beloved country "is marked by violence, conflict and repression."

Called to be custodians

Precisely, the Pope launched a strong message of hope, despite the difficult moments of pain and mistrust that the Burmese people are living, and invited everyone to become custodians.

Custodians, first of all, of faith, so as not to fall into resignation, following the example of Jesus, who in the hardest hour "lifts up his eyes to God". Each one of us - especially those who suffer and are discouraged - is called to look to heaven, even when "innocent blood is shed on earth", because we must not "give in to the logic of hatred and revenge".

This disposition of the heart also leads us to "safeguard unity", beginning with our own little environment, because, after all, confrontations and divisions are exacerbated when partisan interests or the desire for profit are pursued. We must, in short, be builders and sowers of fraternity, overcoming the logic that divides, "that puts each one at the center, discarding the others".

Finally, said the Pope in his homily to the faithful of Myanmar, we must be custodians of the truth, therefore of Christ himself, "revelation of the Father's love". We must not bend the Gospel to human and worldly logic, but become "prophets in every situation of life", credible witnesses even if this may mean "going against the current".

About the Holy Land

The Pope's strong appeal for an end to the terrible armed violence that has been raging in the Holy Land for several days now came after praying the Regina Caeli from the window of St. Peter's Square. There is very strong concern that the armed clashes between the Gaza Strip and Israel could degenerate into an unstoppable spiral of more destruction and death, representing "a serious wound to fraternity and peaceful coexistence among citizens."

The Pope also denounced the "terrible and unacceptable" involvement of several children and many innocent people who have died in the recent clashes. Hence the appeal "to calm, to those who have responsibility, to leave the din of weapons and walk on the paths of peace".

These are truly worrying times, while there is a growing awareness of the urgency of putting back on the table - and making hearts leaven - the Document on Human Fraternity, signed two years ago in Abu Dhabi, and the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti of last October 4, in order to build the future and not destroy it, as the Holy Father recalled.

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