from L’Osservatore Romano
In his homily at Holy Mass on Tuesday morning, 25 February, Pope Francis commented on the day’s readings from the Letter of James (4:1-10) and the Gospel of Mark (9:30-37). The Gospel is especially sobering, the Pope said. There we are told that the disciples “were discussing” and even “arguing on the way.
And they did so in order to clarify who was the greatest among them: ambition”. They carried on this discussion because “one or two of them wanted to be the greatest: fighting”. Thus, the Pope said, “they withdrew their hearts”. The disciples had “distant hearts” and “when hearts become distant war is caused”. This is the essence of “the teaching the Apostle James offers us today,” he said, as he poses a very direct question: “My brothers, what causes wars, and what causes fightings among you?”
These words “are sobering”, the Pope said. For “every day we find reports of war in the newspapers”. We read that “in this place people are divided” and there are “five dead”. Elsewhere there are other victims and so it goes. So much so, he added, that “the dead seem to be part of the daily toll”. And we “have become accustomed to reading these things”. In fact, “had we the patience to list all of the wars that exist in the world right now, surely we would fill many pages”.
“It seems as though the spirit of war has taken hold of us”. Thus, “we makes acts to commemorate the centenary of the great war” that left “many millions dead”, and everyone is outraged”; and yet even today “the same things occurs: instead of a great war” there are “little wars everywhere”. There are “peoples divided” who “kill and murder one another to protect their own interests”…
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