Pope Francis on Sunday urged Christians and Muslims to promote mutual respect , especially through the education of new generations. His remarks came at the end of his Angelus address when he sent greetings to Muslims throughout the world who have just celebrated the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Pope Francis spoke to the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square about how God’s love is our greatest treasure. He said today’s gospel reading from St Luke talks to us about our desire for a meeting with Christ, calling it a key aspect of human life. All of us, the Pope said, “have this desire in our hearts, be it explicit or hidden.” In St. Luke’s account of Jesus walking with his disciples towards Jerusalem, Christ reveals to them what is really important for him at that time. The Pope says Jesus’s thoughts include a distancing from earthly goods, faith in the providence of the Father and his interior vigilance while awaiting the Kingdom of God. This gospel account, he continues, teaches us that a Christian is someone who carries within him a deep desire to meet the Lord together with his brethren and his companions along the way. All this can be summed up in Jesus’ words: “for wherever your treasure is, that is where your heart will be too.”
Addressing the pilgrims directly, Pope Francis asked them two questions, “do you have a heart with a wish or do you have a closed heart, a sleeping heart, a heart that is anesthetized.” His second question for the pilgrims was: “Where is your treasure”, what for you is the most important and precious reality that attracts your heart like a magnet?” “Is it” he asked, “God’s love which is the desire to do good to others and live for the Lord?” Pope Francis went on to describe how God’s love keeps a family united and gives meaning to our daily tasks and also helps us to face up to the big challenges. This, he declared, is the true treasure for mankind. God’s love isn’t something vague and generic, “it has a name and a face, Jesus Christ.” The Pope said “God’s love gives value and beauty to every human activity” and it gives meaning to negative experiences. That’s because God’s love allows us to move beyond those experiences and not remain prisoners of evil but also be open to hope and the final destination of our pilgrimage.
Before reciting the Angelus prayer the Pope recalled today’s feast of St. Clare of Assisi who left everything to consecrate herself to Christ in poverty, following in the footsteps of St. Francis.
He said this saint gives us a beautiful witness of today’s gospel and she helps us, together with the Blessed Virgin Mary, to live it out, each one according to their own vocation.
After the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis departed from his prepared remarks to recall that this coming Thursday is the solemnity of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven and said on that day we will honour Her. He then said he wished to send greetings to Muslims, our brothers, throughout the world who have just finished celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan . Referring to his earlier message released to mark this event, the Pope said he hoped that Christians and Muslims will strive to “promote mutual respect, especially through the education of the new generations.”
He concluded his remarks by greetings all the pilgrims and groups present and reminding them of the words which were the motto of the recent World Youth Day gathering in Rio: “Go and make disciples among all nations.”
One cannot separate Christ and the Church.The grace of Baptism gives us the joy of following Christ in and with the Church.