South Sudan, more than 100 thousand at the Pope’s mass in Juba

Bergoglio: “We lay down weapons of hatred and revenge, we give up responding to evil with evil”

Over 100,000 people attended the Pope’s Mass at the Mausoleum of Juba, according to local authorities. Many people have reached the areas surrounding the Mausoleum to be able to attend the celebration of the Pontiff who will be back in Rome in the late afternoon.

“We Christians, despite being fragile and small, even when our strengths seem insignificant to us in the face of the magnitude of the problems and the blind fury of violence, can offer a decisive contribution to changing history”, the Pope said encouraging the south Sudanese.

“Faced with so many wounds – he said during his homily – with the violence that feeds the poison of hatred, with the iniquity that causes misery and poverty, it may seem to you that you are small and powerless. But, when you are tempted to feel inadequate, try looking at salt and its tiny grains: it is a small ingredient and, once placed on a plate, it disappears, it melts, but this is exactly how it gives flavor to all the contents. fragile and small, even when our strengths seem insignificant to us in the face of the magnitude of the problems and the blind fury of violence, we can offer a decisive contribution to changing history. Jesus wants us to do it like salt: a pinch is enough it melts to give a different flavor to the whole.”.

“So we can’t hold back, because without that little, without our little, everything loses its taste. Let’s start right from the little, from the essential, from what doesn’t appear in the history books but changes history: in the name of Jesus, the His Beatitudes, let us lay down the weapons of hatred and vengeance to take up prayer and charity; let us overcome those antipathies and aversions which, over time, have become chronic and risk opposing tribes and ethnic groups; let us learn to put salt on wounds of forgiveness, which burns but heals. And, even if the heart bleeds for the wrongs received – was Francis’ exhortation – let us give up once and for all responding to evil with evil, and we will feel good inside; let us welcome and love each other with sincerity and generosity, as God does with us. Let us safeguard the good that we are, let us not allow ourselves to be corrupted by evil!”.

“Before worrying about the darkness that surrounds us, before hoping that something around us will lighten up, we are required to shine, to illuminate with our life and with our works the cities, the villages and the places we live, the people we frequent, the activities we carry out”, the Pope also warned during the mass in Juba.

We are asked to burn with love: it does not happen that our light goes out, that the oxygen of charity disappears from our lives, that evil deeds rob our witness of pure air. This beautiful and tormented land needs the light that each of you has, or rather, the light that each of you is!”.

Then, Francis encourages the population: “I wish you to be salt that is generously spread and melted to flavor South Sudan with the fraternal taste of the Gospel; to be luminous Christian communities which, like cities placed high up, cast a light of good on all and show that it is beautiful and possible to live freely, to have hope, to build a reconciled future all together. I am with you and I wish you to experience the joy of the Gospel”.