Vatican - With Mass in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis opens Amazon Synod

07 October 2019

(ANS - Vatican City) - "When peoples and cultures are devoured without love and without respect," said Pope Francis, "it is not God’s fire but that of the world. Yet how many times the gift of God has not been offered but imposed, how many times there has been colonization rather than evangelization! May God preserve us from the greed of the new colonialisms." These are the words of Pope Francis from Sunday 6 October in the homily of the opening of the special Synod for the Amazon.

With the Synod, the themes of evangelization in a difficult region will be brought to the Vatican for the next three weeks, as will the themes of the custody of Creation and the defense of human dignity.

Also concelebrating the opening Mass of the Synod were the new cardinals, created by Pope Francis on Saturday 5 October. Indeed, the Pontiff's reflection was based precisely on the theme of the gift that the Spirit gives to priests and bishops. "We are bishops because we have received a gift of God," said the Holy Father. "We received a gift so that we might become a gift. Gifts are not bought, traded or sold; they are received and given away," he added.


Pope Francis urged to feed the fire of the Spirit which, if not kept alive, goes out and is covered by ashes. And while the fire of faith must be fed, there is another fire that must be avoided: the fire set by profits. This, on the contrary, is a devouring fire, a fire that destroys, like the one that has devastated the Amazon in recent months. This fire, warned Pope Francis, "blazes up when people want to promote only their own ideas… in the attempt to make everyone and everything uniform."

Pope Francis underlined the importance of martyrdom for the faith and thanked God for the presence of several cardinal martyrs in the College of Cardinals. It is in the heart of Jesus Crucified, in fact, that we must turn our gaze, feeling ourselves summoned, all of us, to give our lives, he said.

In conclusion, Pope Francis addressed a thought to "our brothers and sisters in Amazonia who are bearing heavy crosses and awaiting the liberating consolation of the Gospel, the Church’s caress of love."

Finally, he recalled the words of Cardinal Hummes, who regularly visits the graves of martyr missionaries in the small towns of the Amazon, who said to the Pope: "'Don't forget them! They deserve to be canonized.'" "For them and with them," the Holy Father concluded, "for these [people] who are giving their life now, for those who have poured out their life, and with them, let us journey together."


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