Cross a & # 39; spiritual GPS & # 39; to the heart of our neighbor


YANGONG, Myanmar – In a country marked by six decades of seemingly endless military rule and seemingly endless ethnic and tribal conflicts, Pope Francis extolled the cross of Christ on Wednesday, saying that with this comes healing and describing it as the best remedy against a temptation to respond to violence with revenge.

Francis also said that the cross is like a "spiritual GPS that unerringly guides us to the inner life of God and the heart of our neighbor"

On his cross, Francis said, Christ offered his wounds to the Father " We "and called upon the tens of thousands gathered to find the wisdom to find in their wounds the healing of many in Myanmar who" bear the wounds of violence, visible and invisible wounds. "

" The temptation is to respond to these wounds with a worldly wisdom "that is" deeply flawed ". We believe that healing can come from anger and revenge. However, the path of revenge is not the way of Jesus, "said Francisco.

The words of Pope Francis came when he delivered his first public mbad during his visit to Myanmar from November 27 to 30. The celebration took place at the Kyaikkasan Ground in Yangon, a 150-acre area in the heart of Yangon where locals practice various sports, from soccer and archery to thaing a local martial art. it was British colonialism like a horse racing track.

Some 200,000 people were expected to attend the mbad, and thousands began to line up on Tuesday night to enter the site. English, one of the rare occasions in Rome or the way he did it, although he delivered his homily in Italian with the translation projected on the screens.

As he did the day before When addressing the local civil authorities, Pope Francis avoided pointing out any case of violence. The attention of the international community today focuses on the situation of Rohingya Muslims, a minority of more than one million people who are not considered citizens, despite the fact that their presence here goes back many generations.

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More than 600,000 Rohingyas have been forced to flee from Rakhine State to neighboring Bangladesh, where they are denied refugee status. The persecution against this minority is decades old and has been described as one of the most persecuted in the world. Several governments, including the United States, have labeled the latest outbreak of violence, which began in late August, after a Rohingya militia burned down 30 police posts as "ethnic cleansing."

After avoiding specific references to the Rohingya crisis on Tuesday, some human rights groups raised their voices and said that the Pope had lost the opportunity to defend the marginalized. For example, the Burma Task Force USA, based in the United States, called its avoidance of the word "Rohingya", at the express request of its own cardinal in Myanmar, a "worrying precedent", accusing Francisco of supporting peace but not justice. .

However, Francis used the word several times before this trip, and is expected to do so later in the week during November 30-December. 2 visit to Bangladesh.

In addition, not pointing out any specific case of violence, the Pope did include many others that have led the people of Myanmar to "bare the wounds," as he said during Wednesday's mbad. For example, there are cases of ethnic oppression in the predominantly Christian Kachin state, as well as in the northern Shan states, as well as in states and regions of the southeast such as Karen, Kayah and Tanintharyi.

A Rohingya Muslim activist who attended the mbad as a VIP guest, speaking with Crux before the visit, said he did not care if the Pope used the word or not, noting that he had already spoken it. used before. In addition, he said he hoped the pope would raise the plight of the local Christian minority that constitutes an estimated six percent of the predominantly Buddhist population of 52 million.

"They do not have religious rights in this country," he said.

RELATED: Pope Francis faces the minefield in Myanmar over the Rohingya

On Wednesday, Francis told the badembled that when "hatred and rejection" led Christ to his pbadion and death, "he replied with forgiveness and compbadion. " [19659002] Most of his homily focused on the Gospel pbadage of the day, which warns that Christians will be captured, persecuted, imprisoned, hated and killed by name. The reading is from the Book of Luke, and in it, Jesus tells those who follow him that he will give them "wisdom in speaking that all their adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute."

The Pope said that this wisdom is the Holy Spirit, through whose gifts "Jesus allows each of us to be signs of his wisdom, which triumphs over the wisdom of this world and his mercy, which alleviates even the most painful. "

Sometimes, people may fall into the trap of believing in their own wisdom, Francis said, and lose their sense of direction. When that happens, it is necessary to remember the "compbad before us, in the crucified Lord".

Praising the many charitable efforts of the local Catholic Church to reach everyone despite their ethnicity and religion, Francisco said that Jesus is bound to "crown your efforts" to sow healing and reconciliation in Myanmar.

The Pope acknowledged that not everyone understands the logic of Christ's message of forgiveness and mercy. However, he added, his love revealed on the cross is "finally unstoppable."

As usual, he closed his homily with a prayer to the Virgin Mary, who "followed his son to the dark mountain of Calvary and accompanies us at every step of our earthly journey."

Later that same day , Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with the Supreme Council of Buddhist Monks of Shanghai, and then with the 20 Catholic bishops of the country.

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