Pray for peace, weep for world at war, pope says

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — "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."

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.

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