From Lebanon, the Pope’s appeal for peace in Syria and in the Middle East
These are the words that Pope Benedict XVI pronounced yesterday, 16th October, during the homily of the Holy Mass, in front of the main square crowded with people in the Lebanese capital.
“It is an imperative task of the Church to serve and of Christians to be true servants in the image of Jesus. Service is a foundational element of the identity of Christ’s followers (cf. Jn 13:15-17). The vocation of the Church and of each Christian is to serve others, as the Lord himself did, freely and impartially. Consequently, in a world where violence constantly leaves behind its grim trail of death and destruction, to serve justice and peace is urgently necessary for building a fraternal society, for building fellowship! Dear brothers and sisters, I pray in particular that the Lord will grant to this region of the Middle East servants of peace and reconciliation, so that all people can live in peace and with dignity. This is an essential testimony which Christians must render here, in cooperation with all people of good will. I appeal to all of you to be peacemakers, wherever you find yourselves.”
An appeal of peace in the Middle East and particularly in Syria, strongly reaffirmed after the Angelus:
“Let us turn now to Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Lebanon. Let us ask her to intercede with her divine Son for you and, more particularly, for the people of Syria and the neighbouring countries, imploring the gift of peace. You know all too well the tragedy of the conflicts and the violence which generates so much suffering. Sadly, the din of weapons continues to make itself heard, along with the cry of the widow and the orphan. Violence and hatred invade people’s lives, and the first victims are women and children. Why so much horror? Why so many dead? I appeal to the international community! I appeal to the Arab countries that, as brothers, they might propose workable solutions respecting the dignity, the rights and the religion of every human person! Those who wish to build peace must cease to see in the other an evil to be eliminated. It is not easy to see in the other a person to be respected and loved, and yet this is necessary if peace is to be built, if fraternity is desired (cf. 1 Jn 2:10-11; 1 Pet 3:8-12). May God grant to your country, to Syria and to the Middle East the gift of peaceful hearts, the silencing of weapons and the cessation of all violence! May men understand that they are all brothers!”.
(For reading all Pope Benedict XVI speeches in Lebanon: www.vatican.va)
ATS pro Terra Sancta is also present in Lebanon, in support of the works that the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land are carrying out in the region, as well as in neighboring Syria, currently the scene of conflict and destruction. We thus join with the Holy Father in praying for the peoples of these countries, and in particular for those who bear the burden of insecurity and suffering.