“The Cross is the word through which God has responded to evil in the world.” With these words, Francis closed his first Way of the Cross in the Coliseum as Bishop of Rome, during a brief speech that foreshadowed his future preaching centered on pardon and mercy. The Pontiff explained, in an original manner, the meaning of the immolation of the Lamb of God, who had offered his life on the Cross to transmit a word of love, stronger than that of justice.
Every priest who loves the Word of God meditates on the Gospel to be proclaimed, and which he will subsequently explain to the faithful. Besides the knowledge gleaned through his personal study, the Holy Spirit normally inspires him with a deeper understanding regarding the happenings in the life of the Redeemer, illuminating him in relation to the message of salvation, read ‘between the lines’.
A well known fact in the life of Saint Joan of Arc occurred when she was interrogated by the inquisition. When questioned as to whether or not she was in the state of grace, her answer reflected wisdom, truth and faith: ‘If I am not, may God put me there; if I am, may God keep me so.’
People highly attuned to nature easily notice physical and climatic changes by the slightest signs. Apparently minor changes often warn of a dramatic event that may be fast approaching, so it is necessary to identify such signs in order to forestall damages. These perceptions are mainly enjoyed by a handful of weather experts, or persons who live intensely connected with the earth, mountains or sea, who end up acquiring, through experience, a good intuition of what is happening, or about to happen.
The Gospel of Saint Luke relates that two thieves were crucified with Jesus: one on his right and the other on his left. One of them, repentant, prayed to Jesus: ‘Remember me when you come into your kingdom’ (Lk 23: 42).
‘He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him takes care to chastise him’ (Prov 13:24).
The natural love that parents have for their children such that they are even willing to sacrifice their lives for the good of their offspring is familiar to all. Due to this love, parents experience much concern when a young person begins to take the wrong path… They must teach them, reprehend and warn them, and when necessary, resort to a more severe measure: punishment.
To say that someone is ‘as changeable as a weathervane’ is a way to describe a person who constantly modifies his opinion or attitude according to the trend of the moment, just like a weathervane at the whims of the wind.
Last August, Francis commented on the famous ‘Bread of Life’ discourse narrated in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Saint John.
It is very pleasing, and above all, we feel love and admiration when, on going through the pages of the Gospel, we observe how Jesus ‘went about doing good’ (Acts 10: 38) – He cured all, pardoned sins, multiplied loaves, resurrected the dead, blessed children, etc. But, there is a truth that is often forgotten in our days, and even ends up being despised by those who would prefer to tear away the memory of it from their consciences: in the inseparable unity of merciful Jesus, there also exists justice, severity and integrity that does not tolerate the abominations or the errors of those who obstinately persist in sin. Both are the same Jesus…in both ways, Jesus is good, rather He is Goodness itself!
In the previous parts of our study, we have clearly observed that peace is a work of justice and a fruit of charity. It results from the practice of what is good, which is taught by the natural and divine law and accomplished with the help of grace. We now arrive at the point where we might ask – especially considering the declarations of Francis that we are analyzing: Is peace possible in Islam without the concept of an objective good or the natural law and above all without the indispensable aid of supernatural grace?