· Vatican City ·

The Holy Father renews appeal for peace in Ukraine, Palestine and Israel

Conflicts are resolved with negotiation not confrontation

 Conflicts are resolved with negotiation not confrontation  ING-026
28 June 2024

After praying the Angelus on Sunday, 23 June, Pope Francis reiterated his appeal for peace in Ukraine, Palestine, Israel and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He prayed that the Holy Spirit may guide world leaders and “inspire wisdom and a sense of responsibility in them, to avoid any action or word that may fuel confrontation, and instead strive resolutely for a peaceful resolution of conflicts”. Earlier, the Pope had reflected on the Gospel passage about Jesus calming the storm for his frightened disciples. Overcoming trials with Jesus’ help, he explained, we “increasingly learn to hold onto him and trust in his power, which goes far beyond our capacities, to overcome uncertainties and hesitations, closures and preconceptions, with courage and greatness of heart”. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s words to the faithful gathered in Saint Peter’s Square.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Happy Sunday!

Today the Gospel presents us with Jesus on the boat with the disciples, on Lake Tiberias. A strong storm arrives unexpectedly, and the boat is in danger of sinking. Jesus, who was asleep, wakes up, threatens the wind and everything becomes calm again (cf. Mk 4:35-41).

But actually, he does not wake up, they wake him up! With great fear, it is the disciples who awaken Jesus. The evening before, Jesus himself had told the disciples to get on the boat and cross the lake. They were experts, they were fishermen, and that was their living environment, but a storm could have put them in difficulty. It seems that Jesus wanted to put them to the test. However, he did not leave them alone; he stayed with them on the boat, calm; indeed, he even slept. And when the storm broke, he reassured them with his presence, he encouraged them, he urged them to have more faith and accompanied them beyond the danger. But we can ask this question: Why does Jesus act this way?

To strengthen the faith of the disciples and to make them more courageous. Indeed, they emerge from this experience with more awareness of Jesus’ power and of his presence in their midst, and therefore stronger and readier to face obstacles and difficulties, including the fear of venturing out to proclaim the Gospel. Having overcome this trial with him, they will know how to face many others, even to the cross and martyrdom, to bring the Gospel to all peoples.

And Jesus does the same with us too, in particular in the Eucharist: He gathers us around him, he gives us his Word, he nourishes us with his Body and his Blood, and then he invites us to set sail, to transmit everything we have heard and to share what we have received with everyone, in everyday life, even when it is difficult. Jesus does not spare us from trials and tribulations, but, he helps us confront them, without ever abandoning us. He makes us courageous. So that, overcoming them with his help, we too increasingly learn to hold onto him and trust in his power, which goes far beyond our capacities, to overcome uncertainties and hesitations, closures and preconceptions, with courage and greatness of heart, in order to tell everyone that the Kingdom of Heaven is present. It is here, and with Jesus at our side, we can make it grow together, beyond all barriers.

Let us ask ourselves, then: in times of trial, can I remember the times when I experienced the Lord’s presence and help in my life? Let us think about it… When a storm arrives, do I let myself be overwhelmed by the turmoil or do I cling to him — there are many inner storms — to find calm and peace, in prayer, silence, listening to the Word, adoration and fraternal sharing of faith?

May the Virgin Mary, who welcomed God’s will with humility and courage, give us, in difficult moments, the serenity of abandonment in him.

After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters, I greet you all, people of Rome and pilgrims from Italy and various countries.

In particular, I greet the faithful from Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona, and those from Bari. I greet the participants in the “Choose life” demonstration, the “Edelweiss” Choir of the Alpine Section of Bassano del Grappa, and the cyclists from Bollate, who have come by bicycle.

Let us continue to pray for peace, especially in Ukraine, Palestine and Israel. I see the Israeli flag … Today I saw it on my way from the Church of the Santi Quaranta Martiri — it is a call for peace! Let us pray for peace! Palestine, Gaza, the North of the Congo… let us pray for peace! And peace in Ukraine, which is suffering greatly. Let there be peace! May the Holy Spirit enlighten the minds of leaders and inspire wisdom and a sense of responsibility in them so they may avoid any action or word that could fuel confrontation, resolutely striving instead, for a peaceful resolution of conflicts. It requires negotiation.

The day before yesterday, Father Manuel Blanco, a Franciscan who lived in the Church of Santi Quaranta Martiri e San Pasquale Baylon in Rome for 44 years, passed away. He was a superior, a confessor, a man of counsel. In remembering him, I would like to remember many Franciscan brothers, confessors, preachers, who honoured and honour the Church of Rome. Thanks to all of them!

And I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!