POPE APPEALS FOR SELF-CONTROL AMID HEIGHTENED THREAT OF WAR – POPE FRANCIS: LIKE THE MAGI, OUR LIVES ARE CHANGED BY ENCOUNTERING JESUS

As is usual on Sundays and religious holy days, the Pope appears at his study window at noon to recite the Angelus with the faithful gathered below in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Francis recited the Angelus on Sunday, January 5, noting that there is a “terrible air of tension” in many parts of the world, obviously referring to the escalating crisis between the United States and Iran.

He recited the Marian prayer again today, Monday, January 6, feast of the Epiphany, after presiding at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

POPE APPEALS FOR SELF-CONTROL AMID HEIGHTENED THREAT OF WAR

Amid an escalating crisis between the United States and Iran, Pope Francis urges nations to exercise self-control and dialogue.
By Devin Watkins (vaticannews)

“War brings only death and destruction.”

Pope Francis spoke those words of warning on Sunday, following the Angelus prayer.

Without referring to any specific countries, the Pope said there is a “terrible air of tension” in many parts of the world. “I call upon all parties to fan the flame of dialogue and self-control, and to banish the shadow of enmity,” he said.
The Pope then invited everyone to pray in silence for a moment for this intention.

US – Iran tensions
Pope Francis’ appeal comes on the heels of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, after a US airstrike killed a top Iranian general in Iraq. General Qassem Soleimani was the commander of the Quds Force, the wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for military activities outside Iran. His death on Friday in Baghdad raised the threat of direct confrontation between the US and Iran.

Iraqi concern
The Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako, on Saturday expressed the Iraqi people’s shock at the event. “It is deplorable that our country should be transformed into a place where scores are settled, rather than being a sovereign nation, capable of protecting its own land, its own wealth, its own citizens.” He also called on all nations to exercise moderation, act reasonably, and sit down to seek understanding.

POPE FRANCIS: LIKE THE MAGI, OUR LIVES ARE CHANGED BY ENCOUNTERING JESUS

Pope Francis during the January 6 Angelus spoke of the Magi whose lives were changed after encountering the baby Jesus. He also greeted the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox, many of whom celebrate the Lord’s Christmas on the 7th January.

By Vatican News
Following Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany, Pope Francis during his Angelus, addressed a special thought “to the brethren of the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox, many of whom celebrate the Lord’s Christmas tomorrow. We wish them and their communities, he said, “the light and peace of Christ the Saviour.”

During his Angelus address, the Pope drew from the Gospel of the day that spoke of the three wise men.

The Magi on seeing Jesus
The Pontiff described how after encountering the baby Jesus, their lives were changed. “They saw a different king, a king “who is not of this world”, meek and humble, yet indicated in agreement by the stars and the Holy Scriptures.”

The Pope went on to explain that “the encounter with Jesus does not hold back the Magi, on the contrary, it gives them a new impetus to return to their country, to tell what they saw and the joy they felt.”

The experience of knowing God, remarked Pope Francis, “does not block us, but frees us; it does not imprison us, but it puts us back on the road…”

The Gospel passage, he emphasized, “contains a detail which prompts our reflection. At the end of the story, it is said that the Magi were “warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and by another route they returned to their country.”

Every experience of meeting Jesus, noted the Pope, “leads us to take different paths, because from Him comes a good force that heals the heart and detaches us from evil.”

“This is the difference between the true God and traitorous idols, such as money, power, success…; between God and those who promise to give you these idols, such as magicians, fortune tellers, sorcerers,” he said.

The true God does not hold us back
“The true God does not hold us back, nor does He let Himself be held back by us: He opens to us ways of novelty and freedom.”

Following the recitation of the Marian prayer, Pope Francis had a special greeting for those involved in the historical-folkloristic procession on Via della Conciliazione that is inspired by the traditions of the Epiphany. The Pope also extended his greeting to the procession of the Magi in numerous cities and villages in Poland.