New call from the pontiff to end violence in Israel and Palestine. Pain for the death of migrants in the shipwreck off the coast of Calabria. Commenting on the Gospel passage on the temptations of Jesus, he recalled that the devil “is not defeated by negotiating with him, but by opposing him with faith in the divine Word.”
Vatican City () – Pope Francis made a new appeal today at the Angelus to end violence in the Holy Land.
“The painful news from the Holy Land continues to arrive – said the pontiff -, many people have died, including children… How can this spiral of violence be stopped? I renew my appeal to make dialogue prevail over hatred and revenge, and I pray to God for the Palestinians and Israelis, so that they find the path of brotherhood and peace, with the help of the international community.”
The Pope also expressed concern about the situation in Burkina Faso, where terrorist attacks continue. He later said that he felt great pain because of the shipwreck of migrants near Crotona, in Italy. “40 corpses have already been recovered -he added- among them many children. He prayed for each one of them, for the disappeared and for all the surviving migrants. I thank those who have collaborated with help and those who are hosting them. May Our Lady support these brothers and sisters of ours. And let’s not forget the tragedy of the war in Ukraine, a year of war has already passed. And let’s not forget the pain of the Syrian and Turkish peoples from the earthquake.”
Before the Angelus, Pope Francis had commented on the evangelical passage of the temptations of Jesus (Mt 4,1-11) that proposes the liturgy of this first Sunday of Lent. “The devil – explained the pontiff – enters the scene to separate Jesus from the Father and distract him from his mission of unity with us.” For that, he tries to “instill three powerful ‘poisons'”: attachment, mistrust and power. “The devil tries to suggest to Jesus: ‘You are hungry, why should you fast? Listen to your need and satisfy it, you have the right and the power: turn stones into bread. Then the second poison, distrust: ‘Are you sure – the evil one insinuates – that the Father wants your good? Test him, blackmail him. Finally, the power: ‘You don’t need your Father! Why wait for gifts from him? Take it all yourself and you will be powerful.’”
They are the same temptations – the Pope continued – that the devil uses “to separate us from the Father and make us stop feeling like brothers among ourselves, to lead us to loneliness and despair”. But Jesus overcomes temptations by avoiding arguing with the devil and responding with the Word of God. “It is also an invitation for us,” Francis observed, “you don’t argue with the devil! You can’t beat him by negotiating with him, but by opposing him with faith to the divine Word. In this way, Jesus teaches us to defend unity with God and between us from the attacks of the one who divides”.
That is why he invited us to ask ourselves: “What place does the Word of God occupy in my life? Do I turn to it in my spiritual struggles? If I have a vice or a recurring temptation, why don’t I let myself be helped and look for a verse from the “Word of God that responds to this vice? May Mary, who accepted the Word of God and with her humility defeated the arrogance of those who divide – Francis concluded – accompany us in the spiritual struggle of Lent”.