(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Tuesday with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar , Sheikh Ahmed Muhammad al-Tayeb who is in Rome to attend a conference organised by the St Egidio community.
No details of the private encounter were released, but the meeting marked the second trip to the Vatican in two years by Egypt’s top Muslim leader. His first meeting with the pope in May 2016 marked an important step forward after five years of suspended dialogue between the Holy See and the prestigious Al-Azhar university.
Pope’s visit to Cairo
In April this year, Pope Francis travelled to Cairo to visit the headquarters of Sunni Muslim scholarship and attend an international peace conference there. During his two day visit to Egypt, the pope urged religious leaders to denounce violations of human rights and expose attempts to justify violence and hatred in the name of God.
Respecful interreligious dialogue
He appealed for respectful interreligious dialogue, saying the only alternative to a culture of civilized encounter is “the incivility of conflict”. Recalling the visit of St Francis to the Sultan in Egypt eight centuries ago, he called for dialogue based on sincerity and the courage to accept differences.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has expressed his condolences to the families of the victims of a deadly shooting Texas .
Twenty-six people were killed in the attack, including the unborn child of a young mother, who was also killed. The dead ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years. Twenty others were wounded, with 10 still in critical condition late on Monday.
In a telegram addressed to Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin noted Pope Francis was “deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of senseless violence perpetrated at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs .” The Holy Father, the Cardinal said, “asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the wounded, to the members of the congregation, and to the entire local community.”
Cardinal Parolin said Pope Francis was praying to “our Lord Jesus Christ to console all who mourn and to grant them the spiritual strength that triumphs over violence and hatred by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has urged Christians not to lose the capacity to feel loved.
Speaking during the homily on Tuesday morning at the Casa Santa Marta , the Pope said that while it is possible to recuperate a lost capacity to love, if one no longer has the capacity feel loved, all is lost.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni :
Pope Francis reflected on the reading from the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus says “Blessed are those who will take food in the Kingdom of God” and explained that the Lord asks us to open our doors to those who cannot reciprocate.
The parable of the man who gave a dinner to which he invited many
The parable tells of a man who gave a great dinner to which he invited many. But when the time for the dinner came, those who had been invited declined the invitation because they were taken by their own interests which seemed to them more important than the invitation itself.
They were asking themselves – the Pope noted – what benefit they could get out of the dinner, just like that man who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.
They were so concerned with their own interests the Pope said they were “incapable of understanding the gratuity of the invitation”.
Salvation is not for sale
And warning the faithful against this kind of attitude the Pope said: “if you do not understand the gratuity of God’s invitation, you do not understand anything”.
He explained that the only price God asks one to pay is that of being needy, in body and in soul: one must be in need of love.
He remarked on the two different attitudes: on the one hand the Lord who asks for nothing in return and tells the servant to invite the poor, the crippled, the good and the bad: “this gratuitousness has no limits, God receives all”.
On the other hand, he said, the attitude of those who had been invited but who did not understand, like the elder brother of Prodigal son who does not want to attend the banquet arranged by his father because “he does not understand”.
“He spent all his money, he wasted his inheritance in vices and sins, and you celebrate his homecoming? I am a practicing Catholic, I go to Mass every Sunday and carry out my duties and you do nothing for me? He does not understand the gratuity of salvation” he said.
Salvation, the Pope reiterated, is free: “It is God’s gift to which one responds with another gift, the gift of one’s heart.”
God asks only for love and fidelity
The Lord, he said does not ask for anything in return, only love and fidelity. Salvation is not for sale, one simply has to accept the invitation to His banquet, thus: “Blessed are those who will take food in the Kingdom of God” – This is Salvation.
Those, he continued, who do not want to take part in the banquet have lost the capacity to feel that they are loved.
“When one loses – not the capacity to love because that is something that can be recuperated – but the capacity to feel loved there is no hope and all is lost” he said.
It reminds us, Pope Francis concluded, of the writing on the gate to Dante’s inferno ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’ – we must think of this and of the Lord who wants His home to be filled: “Let us ask the Lord to save us from losing the ability to feel loved”.
(from Vatican Radio)…