In his homily Thursday, Pope Francis said that just as Jesus wept for Jerusalem in the day’s Gospel reading, he continues to weep today, because the world has rejected the path of peace in exchange for war. “Today Jesus weeps as well: because we have chosen the way of war, the way of hatred, the way of enmities,” the Pope said Nov. 19. He noted how the Christmas season is approaching, yet while lights, parties, bright trees and even Nativity scenes will decorate homes, “the world continues to wage war. The world has not understood the way of peace.” Francis then recalled recent commemorations of global catastrophes such as the Second World War, the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as his visit to Italy’s Redipuglia war memorial last year on the anniversary of the World War I. Referring to the conflicts as “useless slaughters,” he quoted a phrase of Pope Benedict XV, saying “everywhere there is war today, there is hatred…What shall remain in the wake of this war, in the midst of which we are living now?” The Pope directed his reflections to those gathered in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse for his daily Mass. He focused on the day’s Gospel reading from Luke, in which Jesus looks at Jerusalem from a nearby hill and weeps, because the way of peace “is hidden” from their eyes. He repeated aloud Jesus’ words that “If this day you only knew what makes for peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes.” “The whole world is at war,” he said, adding that the rejection of the “path of peace” and the option for war instead is what leads God himself to tears. What will be left after the war, he said, isn’t optimistic: “ruins, thousands of children without education, so many innocent victims: and lots of money in the pockets of arms dealers.” Francis referred to how in the Gospel Jesus cautioned against serving two masters. One can either serve God or riches, he said, explaining that war is the choice of the person who serves wealth. “Let us build weapons, so that the economy will right itself somewhat, and let us go forward in pursuit of our interests,” he said, imitating what those people might say. However, he cautioned that Jesus has an “ugly word” for these kind of people: “Cursed!” “Men who work war, who make war, are cursed, they are criminals,” he said, noting that while a person can justify war with many reasons, God weeps when, like today, all the world is “at war — piecemeal though that war may be…there is no justification.” Pope Francis said that while the arms dealers go about their business creating havoc, there are people such as Bl. Mother Teresa who spend themselves completely in working for peace. While the powers of the world might ask “what did she ever accomplish? She wasted her life helping others on their way to death!” the Pope again stressed that “We do not understand the way of peace.” He closed his homily by encouraging attendees to ask for “the grace of tears” both for themselves and for the world, “which does not recognize the path of peace, this world that lives for war, and cynically says not to make it.” The Pope prayed that as we prepare for the Jubilee of Mercy, the world would discover the ability “to weep for its crimes,” and for what it has done, and continues to do, with war.
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