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Lay down arms, embrace mercy and be missionaries of peace, Pope Francis

Pope Francis delivers homily during the Mass at DR Congo (Photo screenshot and cropped from Vatican News Video)

Pope Francis encouraged the Congolese to lay down arms, embrace mercy, and be missionaries of peace during the open air Mass at the "Ndolo" airport in Kinshasa, DR Congo.

"And may it be a good time for all of you in this country who call yourselves Christians but engage in violence. The Lord is telling you: 'Lay down your arms, embrace mercy.'" he insisted.

More than one million people participated in the Pope’s Mass on Wednesday, the second day of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

After expressing his joy to be with them, the Pope started his homily with Jesus’ greeting to his disciples on the evening of Easter, “Peace be with you.”

Wellsprings of peace: forgiveness, community, and mission

Pope emphasized forgiveness as the first step to peace

Concerning 'forgiveness', the Pope remembered how Jesus showed His wounds and opened wellsprings of mercy to those who had denied and fled. 

"Brothers, sisters, when guilt and sadness overwhelm us, when things do not go well, we know where to look: to the wounds of Jesus, who is ever ready to forgive us with His infinite, wounded love," he urged.

The Pope prayed, may today be a moment of grace for the Congolese to embrace and experience Jesus' forgiveness.

Pope Francis invited the wounded and oppressed Congolese people to give Christ a chance to heal their hearts by handing their past over to him, along with all their fears and troubles. 

The Pope highlighted the second source of peace as ‘community.’ 

"The Risen Jesus appears to them as a group. Upon this first Christian community, he bestows his peace. There is no Christianity without community, just as there is no peace without fraternity," he stated.

The Pope warned against society's (including the Church's) desire for power, career, and ambition.

Pope Francis emphasized 'mission’ as the third source of peace.

"We are called to be missionaries of peace," the Pope said.

He invited the audience to believe that Christians are called to work with everyone to end violence and hate. Christians, sent by Christ, are by definition a conscience of peace in our world.

Pope Francis prayed that Jesus’ greeting, 'Peace be with you' be with every family, community, ethnic group, neighborhood, and city in this great country.  

"Let us hear them addressed to us and let us choose to be witnesses of forgiveness, builders of community, people charged with a mission of peace in our world," the Pope urged. - With inputs from Vatican News


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