Just as Christ called Peter to cast his nest where there seemed to be no fish, Christ is calling Colombians to take risks in order to build a culture of peace and life, Pope Francis said in the capital Bogota on Thursday. “...the word of Jesus has something special that leaves no-one indifferent; his word has the power to convert hearts, to change plans and projects. It is a word demonstrated by action, not academic findings, cold agreements, removed from people’s pain; for his is a word valid both for the safety of the shore and the fragility of the sea,” Pope Francis said Sept. 7 during his homily at a Mass in Simón Bolívar Park.
The Pope is on a 6-day trip to the South American country, which has just recently established a peace accord between the government and the guerilla group FARC. His trip is centering on peace and reconciliation, with the overarching theme “Let us take the first step”.
Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel of Luke and the calling of Simon Peter the fishermen, one of the first disciples called to follow Christ, during the homily on the first full day of his trip. “Jesus scatters and destroys all this darkness with the command he gives to Peter in the boat: ‘Put out into the deep sea,’” the Holy Father noted. Despite his doubts, Peter follows the command of Christ and is able to bring into his boat a huge haul of fish.
Colombia itself has known its fair share of darkness, he added, including war, political division and corruption, and a disrespect for human life. But like Peter, Colombia is called to respond to the call of Christ to take the first step out of darkness and toward peace, he said.
“In Bogotá and in Colombia a vast community journeys forwards, called to conversion in a healthy net that gathers everyone into unity, working for the defense and care of human life, especially when it is most fragile and vulnerable: in a mother’s womb, in infancy, in old age, in conditions of incapacity and in situations of social marginalization. Great multitudes of people in Bogotá and in Colombia can also become truly vibrant, just and fraternal communities, if they hear and welcome the Word of God,” the Pope said.
Evangelizing men and women with the Word of God will raise up a generation of people ready to hear the call of the Lord and able to foster peace and a culture of life, he added.
He urged Colombians to work together and rely on each other in this common cause. “He calls everyone, so that no one is left to the mercy of the storms; to go into the boat of every family, that sanctuary of life; to make space for the common good above any selfish or personal interests; to carry the most fragile and promote their rights,” he said.
He urged Colombians to remember to follow the Lord on the path of peace, even when it may seem difficult or they may be afraid. “...in the same way as Simon, Jesus invites us to put out into the deep, he prompts us to take shared risks, to leave behind our selfishness and to follow him; to give up our fears which do not come from God, which paralyze us and prevent us becoming artisans of peace, promoters of life.”