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21 June 2018 – Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Pope Francis and the World Council of Churches – Pope Francis’ Homely – Texte de l’Homélie du Pape François – Omelia del Santo Padre

21 June 2018 – Ecumenical Pilgrimage of Pope Francis and the World Council of Churches – Pope Francis’ Homely – Texte de l’Homélie du Pape François – Omelia del Santo Padre

 

Pope Francis celebrated Mass on June 21, 2018, at the Geneva Palexpo, the last major event of his one-day ecumenical pilgrimage to Geneva to mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the WCC.

Following is the text of his homily, provided by the Vatican: 

Father, bread, forgiveness. Three words that the Gospel offers us today. Three words that take us to the very heart of our faith.

“Father”. The prayer begins with this. We can continue with other words, but we cannot forget this first one, for the word “Father” is the key to opening God’s heart. Simply by saying Father, we are already praying in the language of Christianity. As Christians, we do not pray to some generic deity, but to God who is, before all else, our Father. Jesus told us to say “Our Father, who are in heaven”, not “God of heaven, who are Father”. Before all else, even before his being infinite and eternal, God is Father.

All fatherhood and motherhood are derived from him (cf. Eph 3:15). In him is the origin of all goodness and life itself. The words “Our Father” reveal our identity, our life’s meaning: we are God’s beloved sons and daughters. Those words solve the problem of our isolation, our sense of being orphans. They show us what we have to do: love God, our Father, and others, our brothers and sisters. The “Our Father” is the prayer of us, of the Church. It says nothing about me and mine; everything is caught up in the you of God (“your name”, “your kingdom”, “your will”). It speaks in the first person plural. “Our Father”: these two simple words offer us a roadmap for the spiritual life.

Every time we make the sign of the cross at the start of the day or before any other important activity, every time we say “Our Father”, we reclaim our roots. We need those roots in our often rootless societies. The “Our Father” strengthens our roots. Where the Father is present, no one is excluded; fear and uncertainty cannot gain the upper hand. Suddenly we remember all the good things because in the Father’s heart we are not strangers but his beloved sons and daughters. He does not group us together in little clubs, but gives us new life and makes us one large family.

Let us never tire of saying “Our Father”. It will remind us that just as there are no sons or daughters without a Father, so none of us is ever alone in this world. It will also remind us that there is no Father without sons or daughters, so none of us is an only child. Each of us must care for our brothers and sisters in the one human family. When we say “Our Father”, we are saying that every human being is part of us, and that, in the face of all the wrongs that offend our Father, we, as his sons and daughters, are called to react as brothers and sisters. We are called to be good guardians of our family, to overcome all indifference towards our brothers or sisters, towards any of our brothers or sisters. This includes the unborn, the older person who can no longer speak, the person we find hard to forgive, the poor and the outcast. This is what the Father asks us, indeed commands us, to do: to love one another from the heart, as sons and daughters in the midst of their brothers and sisters.

Bread. Jesus tells to ask our Father for bread each day. Nothing else: just bread, in other words, what is essential for life. Before all else, bread is what we need this day to be healthy and to do our work; tragically, so many of our brothers and sisters do not have it. Here I would say: Woe to those who speculate on bread! The basic food that people need for their daily lives must be accessible to everyone.

To ask for our daily bread is also to say: “Father, help me lead a simpler life”. Life has become so complicated. Nowadays many people seem “pumped up”, rushing from dawn to dusk, between countless phone calls and texts, with no time to see other people’s faces, full of stress from complicated and constantly changing problems. We need to choose a sober lifestyle, free of unnecessary hassles. One that goes against the tide, like that of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, whose feast we celebrate today. It would involve giving up all those things that fill our lives but empty our hearts. Let us choose the simplicity of bread and so rediscover the courage of silence and of prayer, the leaven of a truly human life. Let us choose people over things so that personal, not virtual, relationships may flourish. Let us learn once more to love the familiar smell of life all around us. When I was a child at home, if a piece of bread fell from the table, we were taught to pick it up and kiss it. Let us value the simple things of everyday life: not using them and throwing them away, but appreciating them and caring for them.

Our “daily bread”, we must not forget, is Jesus himself. Without him, we can do nothing (cf. Jn 15:5). He is our regular diet for healthy living. Sometimes, however, we treat Jesus as a side dish. Yet if he is not our daily bread, the center of our days, the very air we breathe, then everything else is meaningless. Each day, when we pray for our daily bread, let us ask the Father, and keep reminding ourselves: simplicity of life, care for what is all around us, Jesus in everything and before everything.

Forgiveness. It is not easy to forgive. We always retain a dram of bitterness or resentment, and whenever those we have forgiven annoy us, it rises to the surface once again. Yet the Lord wants our forgiveness to be a gift. It is significant that the only really original commentary on the Our Father is Jesus’ own. He tells us simply: “If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mt 6:14-15). Forgiveness is the catchphrase of the Our Father. God frees our hearts of all sin, he forgives every last thing. Yet he asks only one thing of us: that we in turn never tire of forgiving. He wants us to issue a general amnesty for the sins of others. We should take a good x-ray of our heart, to find out if there are blockages within us, obstacles to forgiveness, stones needing to be removed. Then we can say to the Father: “You see this stone? I hand it over to you and I pray for this person, for that situation; even if I struggle to forgive, I ask you for the strength to do it”.

Forgiveness renews, it works miracles. Peter experienced Jesus’ forgiveness and became the shepherd of his flock. Saul became Paul after the forgiveness he received from Stephen. Forgiven by our Father, each of us is born again as a new creation when we love our brothers and sisters. Only then do we bring true newness to our world, for there is no greater novelty than forgiveness, which turns evil into good. We see it in the history of Christianity. Forgiving one another, rediscovering after centuries of disagreements and conflicts that we are brothers and sisters, how much good this has done us and continues to do! The Father is pleased when we love one another and we forgive each other from the heart (cf. Mt 18:35). Then, he gives us his Spirit. Let us ask for the grace not to be entrenched and hard of heart, constantly demanding things of others. Instead, let us take the first step, in prayer, in fraternal encounter, in concrete charity. In this way, we will be more like the Father, who loves without counting the cost. And he will pour out upon us the Spirit of unity.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

 

Homélie du pape François à Genève (Palexpo) le 21 juin 2018

 

Père, pain, pardon. Trois paroles, que l’Evangile d’aujourd’hui nous donne. Trois paroles, qui nous conduisent au cœur de la foi.

«Père». Ainsi commence la prière. On peut poursuivre avec des paroles différentes, mais on ne peut pas oublier la première, parce que la parole “Père” est la clé d’accès au cœur de Dieu; parce que c’est seulement en disant Père que nous prions en langue chrétienne. Nous prions “en chrétien”: non un Dieu générique, mais Dieu qui est surtout Papa. Jésus, en effet, nous a demandé de dire «Notre Père qui es aux Cieux», non “Dieu des cieux qui es Père”. Avant tout, avant d’être infini et éternel, Dieu est Père.

De lui vient toute paternité et maternité (cf. Ep 3 15). En lui est l’origine de tout le bien et de notre vie-même. «Notre Père» est alors la formule de la vie, celle qui révèle notre identité: nous sommes des enfants bien-aimés. C’est la formule qui résout le théorème de la solitude et le problème d’être orphelin. C’est l’équation qui indique que faire: aimer Dieu, notre Père, et les autres, nos frères. C’est la prière du nous, de l’Eglise; une prière sans je et sans mien, toujours au tu de Dieu («ton nom», «ton règne», «ta volonté») et qui se conjugue seulement à la première personne du pluriel. «Notre Père», deux paroles qui nous offrent la signalétique de la vie spirituelle.

Ainsi, chaque fois que nous faisons le signe de la croix au début de la journée et avant toute activité importante, chaque fois que nous disons «notre Père», nous nous ré-approprions les racines qui nous fondent. Nous en avons besoin dans nos sociétés souvent déracinées. Le «notre Père» fortifie nos racines. Quand il y a le père, personne n’est exclu; la peur et l’incertitude n’ont pas le dessus. La mémoire du bien réapparaît, parce que dans le cœur du Père nous ne sommes pas des figurants virtuels, mais des enfants aimés. Il ne nous rassemble pas en groupes de partage, mais il nous régénère ensemble comme famille.

Ne nous lassons pas de dire «notre Père»: cela nous rappellera qu’il n’existe aucun enfant sans Père et donc qu’aucun de nous n’est seul dans ce monde. Mais cela nous rappellera aussi qu’il n’y a pas de Père sans enfants: aucun de nous est enfant unique, chacun doit prendre soin des frères de l’unique famille humaine. En disant «notre Père» nous affirmons que tout être humain nous appartient, et devant les méchancetés si nombreuses qui offensent le visage du Père, nous ses enfants, sommes appelés à réagir comme des frères, comme de bons gardiens de notre famille, et à faire en sorte qu’il n’y ait pas d’indifférence envers le frère, envers chaque frère: de l’enfant qui n’est pas encore né comme de la personne âgée qui ne parle plus, de celui qu’on connaît et à qui on n’arrive pas à pardonner comme du pauvre rejeté. Le Père nous demande cela, il nous commande: de nous aimer avec des cœurs d’enfants, qui sont entre eux des frères.

Pain. Jésus dit de demander chaque jour au Père le pain. Cela ne sert à rien de demander plus: seulement le pain, c’est-à-dire l’essentiel pour vivre. Le pain est d’abord la nourriture suffisante pour aujourd’hui, pour la santé, pour le travail d’aujourd’hui; cette nourriture qui malheureusement manque à tant de nos frères et sœurs. Pour cela je dis: attention à qui spécule sur le pain! La nourriture de base pour la vie quotidienne des peuples doit être accessible à tous.

Demander le pain quotidien c’est dire aussi: “Père, aide-moi à avoir une vie plus simple”. La vie est devenue si compliquée. Je voudrais dire qu’aujourd’hui, pour beaucoup elle est comme “droguée” : on court du matin au soir, parmi mille appels et messages, incapables de s’arrêter devant les visages, immergés dans une complexité qui rend fragiles et dans une rapidité qui alimente l’anxiété. Un choix de vie sobre, libre des boulets superflus s’impose. Un choix à contre-courant, comme le fit en son temps saint Louis de Gonzague, dont nous rappelons le souvenir aujourd’hui. Le choix de renoncer à tant de choses qui remplissent la vie mais vident le cœur.

Choisissons la simplicité du pain pour retrouver le courage du silence et de la prière, levain d’une vie véritablement humaine. Choisissons les personnes par rapport aux choses, parce qu’elles suscitent des relations personnelles, non virtuelles. Revenons à aimer le parfum naturel de qui nous entoure. Quand j’étais petit, à la maison, si le pain tombait de la table, on nous apprenait à le ramasser tout de suite et à l’embrasser. Apprécier ce que nous avons de simple chaque jour: ne pas prendre et jeter, mais apprécier et garder.

Le «Pain quotidien», ensuite, ne l’oublions pas, c’est Jésus. Sans lui nous ne pouvons rien faire (cf. Jn 15, 5). C’est Lui l’aliment de base pour bien vivre. Parfois, cependant, nous réduisons Jésus à une garniture. Mais s’il n’est pas notre nourriture de vie, le centre de nos journées, la respiration de notre quotidien, tout est vain. En demandant le pain nous demandons au Père et nous nous disons à nous-même chaque jour: simplicité de vie, souci de ceux qui nous entourent, Jésus en tout et avant tout.

Pardon. Il est difficile de pardonner, nous portons toujours en nous un peu de regret, de rancune, et quand nous sommes provoqués par celui à qui nous avons déjà pardonné, la rancœur revient avec les intérêts. Mais le Seigneur exige comme don notre pardon. Cela fait penser que l’unique commentaire original du Notre Père, celui de Jésus, se concentre en une seule phrase: «Si vous pardonnez aux hommes leurs fautes, votre Père céleste vous pardonnera aussi. Si vous ne pardonnez pas aux hommes, votre Père non plus ne pardonnera pas vos fautes» (Mt 6, 14-15). Le pardon est la clause contraignante du Notre Père. Dieu nous libère le cœur de tout péché, il pardonne tout, tout, mais il demande une chose: que nous ne nous fatiguions pas de pardonner à notre tour. Il veut de la part de chacun une amnistie générale des fautes d’autrui. Il faudrait faire une belle radiographie du cœur, pour voir si en nous, il y a des blocages, des obstacles au pardon, des pierres à enlever. Et alors dire au Père: “Vois ce bloc de pierre, je te le confie et je te prie pour cette personne, pour cette situation; même si j’ai de la peine à pardonner, je te demande la force de le faire”.

Le pardon renouvelle, il fait des miracles. Pierre a fait l’expérience du pardon de Jésus et il devint pasteur de son troupeau; Saul est devenu Paul après le pardon reçu d’Etienne; chacun de nous renaît créature nouvelle quand, pardonné par le Père, il aime ses frères. Alors seulement nous introduisons dans le monde de vraies nouveautés, parce qu’il n’y a pas de nouveauté plus grande que le pardon, qui change le mal en bien. Nous le voyons dans l’histoire chrétienne. Nous pardonner entre nous, nous redécouvrir frères après des siècles de controverses et de déchirures, quel bien cela nous a fait et continue à nous faire! Le Père est heureux quand nous nous aimons et nous pardonnons d’un cœur sincère (cf. Mt 18, 35) Et alors, il nous donne son Esprit. Demandons cette grâce: de ne pas nous retrancher avec un cœur endurci, en exigeant toujours des autres, mais de faire le premier pas, dans la prière, dans la rencontre fraternelle, dans la charité concrète. Ainsi nous serons plus semblables au Père, qui nous aime sans rechercher son avantage; et il répandra sur nous l’Esprit d’unité.»

© Librairie éditrice du Vatican

 

Omelia del Santo Padre

 

Padre, pane, perdono. Tre parole, che il Vangelo di oggi ci dona. Tre parole, che ci portano al cuore della fede.

«Padre». Così comincia la preghiera. Può proseguire con parole diverse, ma non può dimenticare la prima, perché la parola “Padre” è la chiave di accesso al cuore di Dio; perché solo dicendo Padre preghiamo in “lingua cristiana”. Preghiamo “in cristiano”: non un Dio generico, ma Dio che è anzitutto Papà.

Gesù, infatti, ci ha chiesto di dire «Padre nostro che sei nei cieli», non “Dio dei cieli che sei Padre”. Prima di tutto, prima di essere infinito ed eterno, Dio è Padre. Da Lui discende ogni paternità e maternità (cfr Ef 3,15). In Lui è l’origine di tutto il bene e della nostra stessa vita. «Padre nostro» è allora la formula della vita, quella che rivela la nostra identità: siamo figli amati. È la formula che risolve il teorema della solitudine e il problema dell’orfanezza.

È l’equazione che indica cosa fare: amare Dio, nostro Padre, e gli altri, nostri fratelli. È la preghiera del noi, della Chiesa; una preghiera senza io e senza mio, tutta volta al tu di Dio («il tuo nome», «il tuo regno», «la tua volontà») e che si coniuga solo alla prima persona plurale. «Padre nostro», due parole che ci offrono la segnaletica della vita spirituale. Così, ogni volta che facciamo il segno della croce all’inizio della giornata e prima di ogni attività importante, ogni volta che diciamo «Padre nostro», ci riappropriamo delle radici che ci fondano.

Ne abbiamo bisogno nelle nostre società spesso sradicate. Il «Padre nostro» rinsalda le nostre radici. Quando c’è il Padre, nessuno è escluso; la paura e l’incertezza non hanno la meglio. Riemerge la memoria del bene, perché nel cuore del Padre non siamo comparse virtuali, ma figli amati. Egli non ci collega in gruppi di condivisione, ma ci rigenera insieme come famiglia. Non stanchiamoci di dire «Padre nostro»: ci ricorderà che non esiste alcun figlio senza Padre e che dunque nessuno di noi è solo in questo mondo. Ma ci ricorderà pure che non c’è Padre senza figli: nessuno di noi è figlio unico, ciascuno si deve prendere cura dei fratelli nell’unica famiglia umana.

Dicendo «Padre nostro» affermiamo che ogni essere umano ci appartiene, e di fronte alle tante cattiverie che offendono il volto del Padre, noi suoi figli siamo chiamati a reagire come fratelli, come buoni custodi della nostra famiglia, e a darci da fare perché non vi sia indifferenza nei riguardi del fratello, di ogni fratello: del bambino che ancora non è nato come dell’anziano che non parla più, del conoscente che non riusciamo a perdonare come del povero scartato. Questo il Padre ci chiede, ci comanda: di amarci con cuore di figli, che sono tra loro fratelli.

Pane. Gesù dice di domandare ogni giorno al Padre il pane. Non serve chiedere di più: solo il pane, cioè l’essenziale per vivere. Il pane è anzitutto il cibo sufficiente per oggi, per la salute, per il lavoro di oggi; quel cibo che purtroppo a tanti nostri fratelli e sorelle manca. Per questo dico: guai a chi specula sul pane! Il cibo di base per la vita quotidiana dei popoli dev’essere accessibile a tutti. Chiedere il pane quotidiano è dire anche: “Padre, aiutami a fare una vita più semplice”.

La vita è diventata tanto complicata. Vorrei dire che oggi per molti è come “drogata”: si corre dal mattino alla sera, tra mille chiamate e messaggi, incapaci di fermarsi davanti ai volti, immersi in una complessità che rende fragili e in una velocità che fomenta l’ansia. S’impone una scelta di vita sobria, libera dalle zavorre superflue. Una scelta controcorrente, come fece a suo tempo san Luigi Gonzaga, che oggi ricordiamo.

La scelta di rinunciare a tante cose che riempiono la vita ma svuotano il cuore. Scegliamo la semplicità del pane per ritrovare il coraggio del silenzio e della preghiera, lievito di una vita veramente umana. Scegliamo le persone rispetto alle cose, perché fermentino relazioni personali, non virtuali. Torniamo ad amare la fragranza genuina di quel che ci circonda.

Quando ero piccolo, a casa, se il pane cadeva dalla tavola, ci insegnavano a raccoglierlo subito e a baciarlo. Apprezzare ciò che di semplice abbiamo ogni giorno, custodirlo: non usare e gettare, ma apprezzare e custodire. Il «Pane quotidiano», poi, non dimentichiamolo, è Gesù. Senza di Lui non possiamo fare nulla (cfr Gv 15,5). È Lui l’alimento base per vivere bene. A volte, però, Gesù lo riduciamo a un contorno. Ma se non è il nostro cibo di vita, il centro delle giornate, il respiro della quotidianità, tutto è vano.

Domandando il pane chiediamo al Padre e diciamo a noi stessi ogni giorno: semplicità di vita, cura di quel che ci circonda, Gesù in tutto e prima di tutto.

Perdono. È difficile perdonare, portiamo sempre dentro un po’ di rammarico, di astio, e quando siamo provocati da chi abbiamo già perdonato, il rancore ritorna con gli interessi. Ma il Signore pretende come dono il nostro perdono. Fa pensare che l’unico commento originale al Padre nostro, quello di Gesù, si concentri in una frase sola: «Se voi infatti perdonerete agli altri le loro colpe, il Padre vostro che è nei cieli perdonerà anche a voi; ma se voi non perdonerete agli altri, neppure il Padre vostro perdonerà le vostre colpe» (Mt 6,14-15).

Il perdono è la clausola vincolante del Padre nostro. Dio ci libera il cuore da ogni peccato, perdona tutto, tutto, ma una cosa chiede: che non ci stanchiamo di perdonare a nostra volta. Vuole da ciascuno un’amnistia generale delle colpe altrui. Bisognerebbe fare una bella radiografia del cuore, per vedere se dentro di noi ci sono blocchi, ostacoli al perdono, pietre da rimuovere.

E allora dire al Padre: “Vedi questo macigno, lo affido a te e ti prego per questa persona, per questa situazione; anche se fatico a perdonare, ti chiedo la forza per farlo”. Il perdono rinnova, fa miracoli. Pietro sperimentò il perdono di Gesù e diventò pastore del suo gregge; Saulo diventò Paolo dopo il perdono ricevuto da Stefano; ciascuno di noi rinasce creatura nuova quando, perdonato dal Padre, ama i fratelli. Solo allora immettiamo nel mondo novità vere, perché non c’è novità più grande del perdono, che cambia il male in bene.

Lo vediamo nella storia cristiana. Perdonarci tra noi, riscoprirci fratelli dopo secoli di controversie e lacerazioni, quanto bene ci ha fatto e continua a farci! Il Padre è felice quando ci amiamo e perdoniamo di vero cuore (cfr Mt 18,35). E allora ci dona il suo Spirito.

Chiediamo questa grazia: di non arroccarci con animo indurito, pretendendo sempre dagli altri, ma di fare il primo passo, nella preghiera, nell’incontro fraterno, nella carità concreta. Così saremo più simili al Padre, che ama senza tornaconto. Ed egli riverserà su di noi lo Spirito di unità.

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Parole del Santo Padre al termine della Celebrazione Eucaristica

Ringrazio di cuore Mons. Morerod e la Comunità diocesana di Losanna-Ginevra-Friburgo. Grazie per la vostra accoglienza, per la preparazione e per la preghiera, che vi chiedo per favore di continuare. Anch’io pregherò per voi, perché il Signore accompagni il vostro cammino, in particolare quello ecumenico. Estendo il mio grato saluto a tutti i Pastori delle diocesi svizzere e agli altri Vescovi presenti, come pure ai fedeli venuti da varie parti della Svizzera, dalla Francia e da altri Paesi. Saluto i cittadini di questa bella città, dove esattamente 600 anni or sono soggiornò il Papa Martino V, e che è sede di importanti Istituzioni internazionali, tra cui l’Organizzazione Internazionale del Lavoro, di cui ricorrerà l’anno prossimo il centenario di fondazione. Ringrazio vivamente il Governo della Confederazione Svizzera per il gentile invito e la squisita collaborazione. Arrivederci!

Discours du pape François : 

Genève: la route magistrale vers l’unité des chrétiens (texte complet)

Chers frères et sœurs,

Nous avons écouté la parole de l’Apôtre Paul aux Galates, qui traversaient des difficultés et des luttes internes. Il y avait en effet des groupes qui s’affrontaient et s’accusaient mutuellement. C’est dans ce contexte que l’Apôtre, par deux fois en peu de versets, invite à marcher «sous la conduite de l’Esprit Saint» (Ga 5, 16.25).

Marcher. L’homme est un être en chemin. Toute sa vie durant, il est appelé à se mettre en route, pour une sortie continue à partir de là où il se trouve: du moment où il sort du sein maternel jusqu’au moment où il passe d’un âge de la vie à un autre; du moment où il laisse la maison de ses parents jusqu’au moment où il sort de cette existence terrestre. Le chemin est une métaphore qui révèle le sens de la vie humaine, d’une vie qui ne se suffit pas à elle-même, mais qui est toujours à la recherche de quelque chose de plus. Le cœur nous invite à marcher, à atteindre un but.

Mais marcher est une discipline, un effort; il faut de la patience quotidienne et un entraînement constant. Il faut renoncer à beaucoup de chemins pour choisir celui qui conduit au but et vivifier la mémoire pour ne pas la perdre. But et mémoire. Marcher demande l’humilité de retourner sur ses propres pas, quand c’est nécessaire, et le souci des compagnons de voyage, car ce n’est qu’ensemble qu’on marche bien. Marcher, en somme, exige une conversion de soi continue. C’est pourquoi beaucoup y renoncent, en préférant la quiétude de la maison, où ils s’occupent commodément de leurs propres affaires sans s’exposer aux risques du voyage. Mais ainsi, on s’accroche à des sécurités éphémères, qui ne donnent pas cette paix et cette joie auxquelles le cœur aspire, et qui ne se trouvent qu’en sortant de soi-même.

Dieu nous appelle à cela, depuis les débuts. Déjà, à Abraham il a été demandé de quitter sa terre, de se mettre en chemin, armé seulement de la confiance en Dieu (cf. Gn 12, 1). C’est ainsi que Moïse, Pierre et Paul, et tous les amis du Seigneur, ont vécu en cheminant. Mais surtout Jésus nous en a donné l’exemple. Pour nous, il est sorti de sa condition divine (cf. Ph 2, 6-7) et il est descendu parmi nous pour marcher, lui qui est le Chemin (cf. Jn 14, 6). Lui, le Seigneur et le Maître, s’est fait pèlerin et hôte au milieu de nous. Retourné au Père, il nous a fait don de son Esprit même, de manière que nous ayons la force de marcher dans sa direction, d’accomplir ce que Paul demande: marcher selon l’Esprit.

Selon l’Esprit: si chaque homme est un être en chemin, et qu’en se repliant sur lui-même il renie sa vocation, à plus forte raison le chrétien. En effet, souligne Paul, la vie chrétienne porte en soi une alternative inconciliable: d’une part marcher selon l’Esprit, en suivant le chemin inauguré par le Baptême; d’autre part «satisfaire les convoitises de la chair» (Ga 5, 16). Que veut dire cette expression? Elle signifie essayer de se réaliser en suivant la voie de la possession, la logique de l’égoïsme, selon lesquelles l’homme cherche à accaparer ici et maintenant tout ce qui lui plaît. Il ne se laisse pas accompagner docilement là où Dieu indique, mais poursuit sa propre route. Nous avons sous les yeux les conséquences de ce parcours tragique: vorace des choses, l’homme perd de vue ses compagnons de voyage; alors sur les routes du monde règne une grande indifférence. Poussé par ses propres instincts, il devient esclave d’un consumérisme effréné: alors la voix de Dieu est étouffée; alors les autres, surtout ceux qui sont incapables de marcher sur leurs jambes, comme les enfants et les personnes âgées, deviennent des déchets dérangeants; alors la création n’a plus d’autre sens que de servir à la production en fonction des besoins.

Chers frères et sœurs, aujourd’hui plus que jamais ces paroles de l’Apôtre Paul nous interpellent: marcher selon l’Esprit, c’est rejeter la mondanité. C’est choisir la logique du service et progresser dans le pardon. C’est s’inscrire dans l’histoire au pas de Dieu: non au pas tonitruant de la prévarication, mais au pas cadencé d’un seul précepte: «Tu aimeras ton prochain comme toi-même» (v.14). La voie de l’Esprit est en effet marquée par des jalons dont Paul dresse la liste: «amour, joie, paix, patience, bonté, bienveillance, fidélité, douceur et maîtrise de soi» (vv. 22-23).

Nous sommes appelés, ensemble, à marcher ainsi: la route passe par une conversion continue, par le renouvellement de notre mentalité afin qu’elle soit conforme à celle de l’Esprit Saint. Au cours de l’histoire, les divisions entre chrétiens sont souvent advenues parce qu’à la racine, dans la vie des communautés, s’est infiltrée une mentalité mondaine: on défendait d’abord ses intérêts propres, puis ceux de Jésus Christ. Dans ces situations, l’ennemi de Dieu et de l’homme a eu la tâche facile en nous séparant, car la direction que nous suivions était celle de la chair, non celle de l’Esprit. Même certaines tentatives du passé pour mettre fin à ces divisions ont misérablement échoué, parce qu’elles étaient principalement inspirées par des logiques mondaines. Mais le mouvement œcuménique, auquel le Conseil Œcuménique a tant contribué, a surgi par la grâce de l’Esprit Saint (cf. Conc. Oecum. Vat. II, Unitatis redintegratio, n. 1). L’œcuménisme nous a mis en route selon la volonté de Jésus et pourra progresser à condition qu’en marchant sous la conduite de l’Esprit, il rejette tout repli autoréférentiel.

Mais – pourrait-on rétorquer – marcher de cette manière, c’est travailler en vain, car on ne défend pas, comme il se doit, les intérêts des communautés respectives, souvent solidement liées à des appartenances ethniques ou à des orientations affermies, qu’elles soient principalement ‘‘conservatrices’’ ou ‘‘progressistes’’. Oui, choisir d’appartenir à Jésus avant d’appartenir à Apollos ou à Pierre (cf. 1 Co 1, 12), d’appartenir au Christ avant d’être ‘‘Juifs ou Grecs’’ (cf. Ga 3, 28), d’appartenir au Seigneur avant d’être de droite ou de gauche, choisir au nom de l’Évangile le frère au lieu de soi-même signifie souvent, aux yeux du monde, travailler en pure perte. N’ayons pas peur de travailler en pure perte! L’œcuménisme est ‘‘une grande entreprise en pure perte’’. Mais il s’agit d’une perte évangélique, selon la voie tracée par Jésus: «Celui qui veut sauver sa vie la perdra; mais celui qui perdra sa vie à cause de moi la sauvera» (Lc 9, 24). Sauver ce qui nous est propre, c’est marcher selon la chair; se perdre en suivant Jésus, c’est marcher selon l’Esprit. Ce n’est qu’ainsi qu’on porte du fruit dans la vigne du Seigneur. Comme Jésus l’enseigne lui-même, ce ne sont pas ceux qui accaparent qui portent du fruit dans la vigne du Seigneur, mais ceux qui, en servant, suivent la logique de Dieu qui continue de donner et de se donner (cf. Mt 21, 33-42). C’est la logique de la Pâque, l’unique qui porte du fruit.

En regardant notre cheminement, nous pouvons nous retrouver dans quelques situations des communautés des Galates d’alors: comme il est difficile de calmer les animosités et de cultiver la communion, comme il est difficile de sortir des contrastes et des refus réciproques alimentés par des siècles! Il est encore plus difficile de résister à la tentation trompeuse: être ensemble avec les autres, marcher ensemble, mais avec l’intention de satisfaire quelque intérêt partisan. Ce n’est pas la logique de l’Apôtre, c’est celle de Judas, qui marchait avec Jésus mais pour ses propres affaires. La réponse à nos pas vacillants est toujours la même: marcher selon l’Esprit, en purifiant le cœur du mal, en choisissant avec une sainte obstination la voie de l’Evangile et en refusant les faux-fuyants du monde.

Après tant d’années d’engagement œcuménique, à l’occasion de ce soixante-dixième anniversaire du Conseil, demandons à l’Esprit de revigorer notre pas. Trop facilement, il s’arrête devant les divergences qui persistent; trop souvent, il est bloqué au départ, miné par le pessimisme. Que les distances ne soient pas des excuses! Il est déjà possible de marcher dès maintenant selon l’Esprit: prier, évangéliser, servir ensemble, c’est possible et cela plaît à Dieu! Marcher ensemble, prier ensemble, travailler ensemble: voilà notre route principale d’aujourd’hui!

Cette route a un but précis: l’unité. Le chemin opposé, celui de la division, conduit à des guerres et à des destructions. Il suffit de lire l’histoire. Le Seigneur nous demande d’emprunter continuellement la voie de la communion, qui conduit à la paix. La division, en effet, «s’oppose ouvertement à la volonté du Christ. Elle est pour le monde un objet de scandale et elle fait obstacle à la plus sainte des causes : la prédication de l’Évangile à toute créature» (Unitatis redintegratio, n. 1). Le Seigneur nous demande l’unité, le monde, marqué par trop de divisions qui affectent surtout les plus faibles, implore l’unité.

Chers frères et sœurs, j’ai voulu venir ici en pèlerin à la recherche de l’unité et de la paix. Je remercie Dieu, parce qu’ici je vous ai trouvés, vous, frères et sœurs déjà en chemin. Marcher ensemble pour nous chrétiens n’est pas une stratégie pour faire davantage valoir notre poids, mais c’est un acte d’obéissance envers le Seigneur et d’amour envers le monde. Obéissance à Dieu et amour pour le monde, le véritable amour qui sauve. Demandons au Père de marcher ensemble avec plus de vigueur sur les routes de l’Esprit. Que la Croix oriente notre chemin, parce que là, en Jésus, ont déjà été abattus les murs de séparation et toute inimitié a été vaincue (cf. Ep 2, 14): là, nous comprenons que, malgré toutes nos faiblesses, rien ne nous séparera jamais de son amour (cf. Rm 8, 35-39).Merci.

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Geneva: Holy Father’s Address to WCC Ecumenical Meeting (Full Text)

‘What is really needed is a new evangelical outreach.’

Pope Francis on June 21, 2018, addressed the ecumenical meeting to mark the 70thanniversary of the foundation of the World Council of Churches  (WCC)  at the WCC Ecumenical Center in Geneva.

The Full Address of the Holy Father, provided by the Vatican

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am happy to meet you and I thank you for your warm welcome. In particular, I express my gratitude to the General Secretary, the Reverend Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, and the Moderator, Dr. Agnes Abuom, for their kind words and for their invitation on this seventieth anniversary of the founding of the World Council of Churches.

In the Bible, seventy years represents a significant span of time, a sign of God’s blessing. But seventy is also a number that reminds us of two important passages in the Gospel. In the first, the Lord commands us to forgive one another not only seven times but “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22). That number, of course, does not serve as a limit, but opens up a vast horizon; it does not quantify justice but serves as the measure of a charity capable of infinite forgiveness. After centuries of conflict, that charity now allows us to come together as brothers and sisters, at peace and full of gratitude to God our Father.

If we are here today, it is also thanks to all those who went before us, choosing the path of forgiveness and sparing no effort to respond to the Lord’s will “that all may be one” (cf. Jn 17:21). Out of heartfelt love for Jesus, they did not allow themselves to be mired in disagreements, but instead looked courageously to the future, believing in unity and breaking down barriers of suspicion and of fear. As an ancient Father in the faith rightly observed: “When love has entirely cast out fear, and fear has been transformed into love, then the unity brought us by our Saviour will be fully realized” (SAINT GREGORY OF NYSSA, Homily XV on the Song of Songs). We are heirs to the faith, charity, and hope of all those who, by the nonviolent power of the Gospel, found the courage to change the course of history, a history that had led us to mutual distrust and estrangement, and thus contributed to the infernal spiral of continual fragmentation. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, who inspires and guides the journey of ecumenism, the direction has changed and a path both old and new has been irrevocably paved: the path of a reconciled communion aimed at the visible manifestation of the fraternity that even now unites believers.

The number seventy reminds us of yet another Gospel passage. It recalls those disciples whom Jesus, during his public ministry, sent out on mission (cf. Lk 10:1), and who are commemorated in some Churches of the Christian East. The number of those disciples reflects the number of the world’s peoples found on the first pages of the Bible (cf. Gen 10). What does this suggest to us, if not that mission is directed to all nations and that every disciple, in order to be such, must become an apostle, a missionary. The World Council of Churches was born in service to the ecumenical movement, which itself originated in a powerful summons to mission: for how can Christians proclaim the Gospel if they are divided among themselves? This pressing concern still guides our journey and is grounded in the Lord’s prayer that all may be one, “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21).

Dear brothers and sisters, allow me to thank you for your commitment to unity, but also to express a concern. It comes from an impression that ecumenism and mission are no longer as closely intertwined as they were at the beginning. Yet the missionary mandate, which is more than diakonia and the promotion of human development, cannot be neglected nor emptied of its content. It determines our very identity. The preaching of the Gospel to the ends of the earth is part of our very being as Christians. The way in which the mission is carried out will, of course, vary in different times and places. In the face of the recurring temptation to tailor it to worldly ways of thinking, we must constantly remind ourselves that Christ’s Church grows by attraction.

But what makes for this power of attraction? Certainly not our own ideas, strategies or programmes. Faith in Jesus Christ is not the fruit of consensus, nor can the People of God be reduced to a non-governmental organization. No, the power of attraction consists completely in the sublime gift that so amazed the Apostle Paul: “to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings” (Phil 3:10). This is our only boast: “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6), granted us by the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life. This is the treasure that we, though earthen vessels (cf. v. 7), must offer to our world, so beloved yet so deeply troubled. We would not be faithful to the mission entrusted to us, were we to debase this treasure to a purely immanent humanism, adapted to the fashion of the moment. Nor would we be good guardians if we tried only to preserve it, burying it for fear of the world and its challenges (cf. Mt 25:25).

What is really needed is a new evangelical outreach. We are called to be a people that experiences and shares the joy of the Gospel, praises the Lord and serves our brothers and sisters with hearts burning with a desire to open up horizons of goodness and beauty unimaginable to those who have not been blessed truly to know Jesus. I am convinced that an increased missionary impulse will lead us to greater unity. Just as in the early days, preaching marked the springtime of the Church, so evangelization will mark the flowering of a new ecumenical spring. As in those days, let us gather in fellowship around the Master, not without a certain embarrassment about our constant vacillations, and, together with Peter, let us say to him: “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life (Jn 6:68).

Dear brothers and sisters, I wanted to take part personally in the celebrations marking this anniversary of the World Council, not least to reaffirm the commitment of the Catholic Church to the cause of ecumenism and to encourage cooperation with the member churches and with our ecumenical partners. In this regard, I would like to reflect briefly on the motto chosen for this day: Walking, Praying and Working Together.

Walking. Yes, but where? From all that has been said, I would suggest a two-fold movement: in and out. In, so as to move constantly to the center, to acknowledge that we are branches grafted onto the one vine who is Jesus (cf. Jn 15:1-8). We will not bear fruit unless we help one another to remain united to him. Out, towards the many existential peripheries of today’s world, in order to join in bringing the healing grace of the Gospel to our suffering brothers and sisters. We might ask ourselves whether we are walking in truth or simply in words, whether we present our brothers and sisters to the Lord out of true concern for them, or if they are removed from our real interests. We might ask ourselves too, whether we keep walking in our own footsteps, or are setting out with conviction to bring the Lord to our world.

Praying. In prayer too, like walking, we cannot move forward by ourselves because God’s grace is not so much tailored to fit each individual as spread harmoniously among believers who love one another. Whenever we say “Our Father”, we feel an echo within us of our being sons and daughters, but also of our being brothers and sisters. Prayer is the oxygen of ecumenism. Without prayer, communion becomes stifling and makes no progress, because we prevent the wind of the Spirit from driving us forward. Let us ask ourselves: How much do we pray for one another? The Lord prayed that we would be one: do we imitate him in this regard?

Working together. Here I would like to reaffirm that the Catholic Church acknowledges the special importance of the work carried out by the Faith and Order Commission and desires to keep contributing to that work through the participation of highly qualified theologians. The quest of Faith and Order for a common vision of the Church, together with its work of studying moral and ethical issues, touch areas crucial for the future of ecumenism. I would also mention the active presence of the Church in the Commission onWorld Mission and Evangelism; collaboration with the Office for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation, most recently on the important theme of education for peace; and the joint preparation of texts for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. These and various other forms of working together are fundamental elements in a sound and time-tested cooperation. I also value the essential role played by the Bossey Ecumenical Institute in the training of future pastoral and academic leaders in many Christian Churches and Confessions worldwide. The Catholic Church has long participated in this educational project through the presence of a Catholic professor on the faculty, and each year I have the joy of greeting the group of students who visit Rome. I would likewise mention, as a good sign of “ecumenical team spirit”, the growing participation in the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

I would also note that the work of our Christian communities is rightly defined by the word diakonia. It is our way of following the Master who came “not to be served but to serve” (Mk 10:45). The broad gamut of services provided by the member churches of the World Council finds emblematic expression in the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace. The credibility of the Gospel is put to the test by the way Christians respond to the cry of all those, in every part of the world, who suffer unjustly from the baleful spread of an exclusion that, by generating poverty, foments conflicts. The more vulnerable are increasingly marginalized, lacking their daily bread, employment, and a future, while the rich are fewer and ever more wealthy. Let us be challenged to compassion by the cry of those who suffer: “the programme of the Christian is a heart that sees” (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 31). Let us see what we can do concretely, rather than grow discouraged about what we cannot. Let us also look to our many brothers and sisters in various parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East, who suffer because they are Christians. Let us draw close to them. May we never forget that our ecumenical journey is preceded and accompanied by an ecumenism already realized, the ecumenism of blood, which urges us to go forward.

Let us encourage one another to overcome the temptation to absolutize certain cultural paradigms and get caught up in partisan interests. Let us help men and women of good will to grow in concern for events and situations that affect a great part of humanity but seldom make it to the front page. We cannot look the other way. It is problematic when Christians appear indifferent towards those in need. Even more troubling is the conviction on the part of some, who consider their own blessings clear signs of God’s predilection rather than a summons to responsible service of the human family and the protection of creation. The Lord, the Good Samaritan of mankind (cf. Lk 10:29-37), will examine us on our love for our neighbor, for each of our neighbors (cf. Mt 25:31-46). So let us ask ourselves: What can we do together? If a particular form of service is possible, why not plan and carry it out together, and thus start to experience a more intense fraternity in the exercise of concrete charity?

Dear brothers and sisters, I renew to you my cordial thanks. Let us help one another to walk, pray and work together, so that, with God’s help, unity may grow and the world may believe. Thank you.

 

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