Pope Francis told the people of South Sudan that Jesus knows and loves them. He was giving homily at 'John Garang' Mausoleum in Juba, South Sudan, on Sunday morning.
"Jesus knows your anguish and the hope you bear in your hearts, the joys and struggles that mark your lives, the darkness that assails you, and the faith that, like a song in the night, you raise to heaven. Jesus knows you and loves you. If you remain in him, you must never fear, because for us too, every cross will turn into a resurrection, every sadness into hope, and every lament into dancing," the Pope said.
He consoled them that Jesus understands their pain and hopes and loves them personally and they shall never be afraid because God is with them.
Reflecting on the seasoning function of the salt, the Pope invited them, "Let us remember this: if we put the Beatitudes into practice if we embody the wisdom of Jesus, we will give savor not only to our own lives but also to the life of society and of the country in which we live."
Pope Francis reflected on the preserving function of the salt and said that there is one "food" to be preserved above all others, "and that is the covenant with God" and the relationship with God.
"Even though we are tiny and frail, even when our strength seems paltry before the magnitude of our problems and the blind fury of violence," the Pope said to the South Sudanese faithful, "we Christians are able to make a decisive contribution to changing history," the Pope insisted.
He urged them, in the name of Jesus and his Beatitudes, to lay down the weapons of hatred and revenge to take up those of prayer and charity.
"Let us learn to apply the salt of forgiveness to our wounds; salt burns but it also heals," the Pope emphasized that people must refuse to return evil with evil, even though their hearts are bleeding.
Reflecting on the light of the world, Pope Francis highlighted, "the Lord will give us strength, the strength to be light in Him, so that everyone will see our good works, and seeing them, as Jesus reminds us, they will rejoice in God and give Him glory."
The Pope reminded the South Sudanese faithful that this country was so beautiful yet ravaged by violence and needed the light that each of them had, or better, the light that each of them was.
Pope Francis prayed, "You will be salt that spreads, dissolves, and seasons South Sudan with the fraternal taste of the Gospel. May your Christian communities shine radiantly, so that, like cities built on a hill, they will shed the light of goodness on all and show that it is beautiful and possible to live with generosity and self-giving, to have hope, and together to build a reconciled future." - With inputs from Vatican News
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