Pope’s message of hope to 1.3 million At Lima
Pope Francis took his message of hope to this sprawling, dusty capital of Peru, celebrating Mass within view of the rocky, waterless Andean slopes where most of the city’s poorest residents live.
The day’s Scripture readings, in which Jonah was sent to Nineveh and Jesus set out toward Galilee, “reveal a God who turns his gaze toward cities, past and present,” the pope said in his homily.
Crowds lined the pope’s route to the Las Palmas military base, where thousands of people arrived during the night and throughout the morning to participate in the Mass.
Lima’s heat and blazing sun did not wither the spirits of the estimated 1.3 million Mass attendees, who chanted and sang as they waited for the liturgy to begin.
Walking through the city with his disciples, Jesus saw people who had “given up in the face of indifference, laid low by the grave sin of corruption,” Pope Francis said. “He begins to bring light to many situations that had killed the hope of his people and to awaken a new hope.”
Jesus taught his disciples to see things they had overlooked before and to notice new needs, he said.
“The kingdom of heaven means finding in Jesus a God who gets involved with the lives of his people.”
His words rang especially true after six days in which he raised issues such as corruption, rapacious consumerism, environmental devastation, organized crime, violence against women and industrial activities such as mining and industrial agriculture, which strip indigenous peoples of their lands and livelihoods.
Jesus “continues to walk on our streets. He knocks today, as he did yesterday, on our doors and hearts, in order to rekindle the flame of hope,” the pope told the throng of Mass-goers.
“Today the Lord calls each of you to walk with him in the city, in your city. He invites you to become his missionary disciple, so you can become part of that great whisper that wants to keep echoing in the different corners of our lives: Rejoice, the Lord is with you!”
By Barbara J. Fraser
Catholic News Service