From the airfield of N’dolo, on the banks of the Congo River, Pope Francis, on his second day in Kinshasa territory, gave a homily in front of more than a million faithful centered on peace, possible thanks to the force of forgiveness, to that of the community, and to that of the mission.
It was the fervor that won this Wednesday 1er February in Kinshasa. Surrounded by dances, of about 700 choristers, to the sound of Gloria in Lingala, a Bantu language of the region, François crossed the crowd in popemobile, before celebrating the Mass for Peace and Justice according to the Roman missal for the dioceses of Zaire. “Essengo”, first launched the Sovereign Pontiff to the faithful of the DRC and surrounding countries, “joy” in Lingala. “I really wanted this moment, thank you for being there“, he said with a smile, seven months after the postponement of this 40e apostolic journeyoriginally scheduled for summer 2022, but delayed for health reasons.
Taking up the words of the Risen One to his own,Peace be with you“Francis gave a homily on the peace that comes to hearts”in ruinsof the disciples. “As they feel death within them, he announces life», «the peace of Jesus comes when everything seems over for them, at the most unexpected and unexpected moment, when there is no glimmer of peace“. Words that echo the suffering of the Congolese. Later in the day, François will meet victims from Ituri, North and South Kivu, regions under the control of armed rebel groups, entangled in the Kivu war since 2004.
The Lord reaches out his hand, continued the Holy Father, “when we are about to sink, he lifts us up when we hit bottom.” That is why “we who belong to Jesus cannot let sadness get the better of us, we cannot let resignation and fatalism take hold”.
Make your weakness a strength
The Sovereign Pontiff developed three keys to cultivating peace: forgiveness, community and mission.
Jesus, before handing over the power to forgive to the apostles, shows his wounds, “because forgiveness comes from wounds. It is born when the wounds suffered do not leave scars of hatred but become the place where to make room for others and welcome their weakness. he continued, “weaknesses then become opportunities, and forgiveness becomes the path to peace”.
So when “guilt and sadness oppress us,” Francis invites us to look at the wounds of Jesus, “he knows your wounds, he knows the wounds of your country, of your people, of your land“. Since March 2022 and the resurgence of violence, particularly linked to the resurgence of the M23 group, around Lake Kivu, on the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, more than 520,000 people have been displaced, according to figures from the United Nations. United last December. “Jesus suffers with you”, affirmed the Pope to the Congolese faithful, and he allows “to find the strength to forgive oneself, others and history“, to get “the courage to carry out a great amnesty of the heart”. The Pope who also invited to kiss the crucifix, and to open the doors of his heart and his house to peace.
Community as a source of peace
The risen Jesus speaks to the disciplesin the plural”, as a community, Francis added, for whom “there is no Christianity without community, just as there is no peace without brotherhood“. To form a community, one must not fall into the pitfall of“to be together but to move forward alone by seeking in society, but also in the Church, power, career, ambitions“, because that is how we end up like the disciples “shut up at home, empty of hope, filled with fear and disappointment”.
The danger is “follow the spirit of the world rather than that of Christ“, enlightened François. But then what is the waynot to fall into the snares of power and money, not to give in to divisions, to the blandishments of careerism which eat away at the community, to the false illusions of pleasure and sorcery which contain in oneself? The solution, Francis explained, is to share with the poor, “Have the courage to look at the poor and to listen to them because they are members of our community, not strangers to be removed from our sight and our conscience”.
Opening one’s heart would therefore be the source of community and access to forgiveness, one of the roots of peace, with the last one that the Pope developed in his homily from the airfield of N’dolo: the mission.
The choice of peace
Since the independence of Belgium acquired on June 30, 1960, the history of the DRC has been built on wars. Peace is a choice, Francis reminded the faithful of the largest French-speaking Catholic country in the world, “it is to make room in our hearts for all; it is to believe that ethnic, regional, social and religious differences come after and are not obstacles; believing that others are brothers and sisters, members of the same human community; believe that all are recipients of the peace brought to the world by Jesus”.
As the mineral-rich country has been plundered for decades, Christians are being called “to break the circle of violence, to dismantle the conspiracies of hatred“, at “to be the peace conscience of the world”. Critical consciences, he specified, but above all witnesses of love, “not those who seek their own interests, but missionaries of the crazy love that God has for every human being.»
“Let us choose to be witnesses of forgiveness, actors in the community, people on a mission of peace in the world”, concluded the Successor of Peter, before ending with a proverb in Lingala, “Moto azalí na matói my koyóka, ayoka, moto azalí na motéma mwa kondima, andima”, “VShe who has ears to hear, let him hear, he who has the heart to consent, let him consent”.
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Mass in Kinshasa: Francis invites Congolese to cultivate peace and reconciliation – Vatican News
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