Pope: Middle East peace needs commitment of parties involved and the world
Pope’s message on the eve of his departure for Lebanon, scheduled from 14 to 16. Renewed commitment to the region too long torn by incessant conflicts “,” must be a priority for all parties involved. “Commenting on today’s Gospel, Benedict XVI speaks of the episode of the healing of the deaf mute, there is “ an inner closure, which concerns the deepest core of the person, what the Bible calls the “heart”. That ‘s what Jesus came to “open” to liberate, to enable us to live fully our relationship with God and with others.”
Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – The commitment to peace and reconciliation in the Middle East a “region too long torn by incessant conflicts”, “must be a priority for all parties involved, and must be supported by the international community.” On the eve of his departure for Lebanon, scheduled for Friday, 14, this is the message that Benedict XVI addressed to the Land of the Cedars “and by extension” to the “Middle East as a whole.” After the Angelus prayer, speaking to four thousand people in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo, speaking in French – and the Vatican released the translation in Arabic – the Pope said to those present: “Dear pilgrims, those of you here, or who are taking part in the Angelus through radio or television; in the coming days, I will make an apostolic visit to Lebanon to sign the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, fruit of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, held in October 2010. I will have the happy opportunity to meet with the Lebanese people and authorities, and the Christians of that beloved country and those from neighboring countries.. ”
“I am aware of the often dramatic situation experienced by the people of this region, too long torn apart by incessant conflicts. I understand the anguish of many Middle Eastern people immersed in daily sufferings of all kinds, which sadly, and at times mortally, plague their personal and family life. My concerned thoughts go out to those who, in search of a place of peace, leave their family and professional life, and experience the precariousness of being exiles. Even though the search for solutions to the various problems affecting the region seems difficult, we can not resign ourselves to the violence and exasperation of tensions. A commitment to dialogue and reconciliation must be a priority for all parties involved, and must be supported by the international community, increasingly aware of the importance of a stable and lasting peace in the region for the whole world. My apostolic visit to Lebanon, and by extension in the Middle East as a whole, is placed under the sign of peace, referring to the words of Christ: “My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). May God bless Lebanon and the Middle East!”
Before the Marian prayer, inspired by the Sunday Gospel, Benedict XVI reflected on the meaning of the word Ephphatha which Jesus spoke to the deaf mute and which heals him. Ephphatha, the Pope explained, “means, “Be opened.” And immediately the man began to hear and speak fluently (cf. Mk 7.35). This then is the historical, literal, meaning of this word: this deaf and dumb man, thanks to Jesus’ intervention, “was opened”, before he had been closed, insulated, it was very difficult for him to communicate, and his recovery was ‘”openness” to others and the world, an openness that, starting from the organs of hearing and speech, involved all his person and his life: Finally he was able to communicate and thus relate in a new way.. ”
“But we all know that closure of man, his isolation, does not solely depend on the sense organs. There is an inner closing, which covers the deepest core of the person, what the Bible calls the “heart”. That is what Jesus came to “open” to liberate, to enable us to fully live our relationship with God and with others. That is why I said that this little word, “Ephphatha – Be opened,” sums up Christ’s entire mission. He became man so that man, made inwardly deaf and dumb by sin, would become able to hear the voice of God, the voice of love speaking to his heart, and learn to speak in the language of love, to communicate with God and with others. For this reason, the word and the gesture of ‘”Ephphatha” are included in the Rite of Baptism, as one of the signs that explain its meaning: the priest touching the mouth and ears of the newly baptized says: “Ephphatha” praying that they may soon hear the Word of God and profess the faith. Through Baptism, the human person begins, so to speak, to “breathe” the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus had invoked from Father with that deep breath, to heal the deaf and dumb man”.
Finally, the Pope addressed “cordial greetings” “to Catholics and all citizens of Kazakhstan, where Cardinal Sodano, as my Legate, today celebrates the dedication of the new Cathedral of Karaganda.”