Conflict

Conflict - Pope Francis       


Pope Francis       18.05.14 Regina Caeli St Peter's Square         5th Sunday of Easter Year A       Acts 6: 1-7


Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today the Reading from the Acts of the Apostles enables us to see that the first tensions and the first dissension also arose in the early Church. There are conflicts in life, the question is how we confront them. Until that time the unity of the Christian communities had been fostered by belonging to one single ethnicity, and to one single culture, that of the Jews. But when Christianity, which by the will of Jesus is destined for all peoples, opened up to the Greek cultural atmosphere, this homogeneity is lost and the first difficulties arose. At that time, discontent was spreading, there was grumbling, rumours of favouritism and unequal treatment circling. This happens in our parishes too! The community’s help to those in need — widows, orphans and the poor in general — seems to favour Christians of Jewish extraction over others. 

And so, faced with this conflict, the Apostles take the situation into their own hands: they call a meeting that is also open to the disciples, and they discuss the matter together. Everyone. Problems, in fact, are not resolved by pretending that they do not exist! And this frank and open exchange between pastors and the other faithful is beautiful. They then come to the subdivision of some of the tasks. The Apostles make a proposal that is welcomed by all: they will dedicate themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word, while seven men, deacons, will provide for the service of the tables for the poor. These seven men are not chosen because they are experts in business, but because they are honest men of good repute, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom; and they are established in the service through the imposition of hands by the Apostles. 

So from that malcontent, that grumbling, from those rumours of favouritism and unequal treatment, they arrive at a solution. 

Conflicts in the Church are resolved by facing one other, by discussing and praying. By facing each other, by discussing and praying, with the certainty that gossip, envy, jealousy can never bring us to concord, harmony or peace. There, too, it was the Holy Spirit who crowned this understanding, and this enables us to understand that when we let ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, he brings us to harmony, unity and respect for various gifts and talents. Have you understood well? No gossiping, no envy, no jealousy! Understood? 

May the Virgin Mary help us to be docile to the Holy Spirit, so that we may be able to esteem one another and converge ever more deeply in faith and love, keeping our hearts open to the needs of our brothers.





Pope Francis  04.09.15  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)   Friday of 22nd Week of Ordinary Time Year B       Colossians 1: 15-20


In a passage of the Letter to the Colossians (1:15-20), Paul describes Jesus’ i.d. card. Basically, the Apostle asks, just who is this Christ that we have seen among us?. And he gives this response: He is the first. He is the first-born of God, the first-born of all creation, for in him things were created, all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together and are reconciled.

To the Colossians Paul presents Jesus-God: Jesus is God, he is greater. First of all he is the beginning, the Creator. The first-born of everyone, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. Paul goes so far that when he speaks about who Jesus is, it seems somewhat exaggerated, does it not?. Yes, the Father sent this Jesus so that through him and for him all things were reconciled, peace was made by the blood of his cross.

Jesus, Paul tells us, reconciled mankind with God. Thus, peace is the action of Jesus, of his blood, of his work, of humbling himself by obeying until death, death on the Cross.

Thus, Jesus made peace for us and reconciled us. Such that when we speak of peace or reconciliation — small-scale peace, minor reconciliations — we must consider the great peace and the great reconciliation, that which Jesus made. We must understand that without him peace is not possible; without him reconciliation is not possible. This discourse also applies to us, who every day hear news of wars, of hatred. Moreover, even in families there is fighting. Thus, our task is to follow that path so as to be men and women of peace, men and women of reconciliation.

It will do us good to ask ourselves: Do I sow peace? For example, with my tongue, do I sow peace or do I sow discord? How many times have we heard that a person has a serpent’s tongue, because he does what the serpent did with Adam and Eve, he destroyed the peace. This, is an evil, this is an ill in our Church: sowing divisiveness, sowing hate, not sowing peace. Today have I sown peace or have I sown discord?. And don’t try to justify yourself by suggesting that sometimes you have to say things because this or that.... what are you really sowing with this attitude?.

Jesus, the First One, came to us to make peace, to reconcile. As a result, if a person, during her life, does nothing but reconcile and make peace, she should be canonized: that person is a saint!. However, we must grow in this, we must convert: never a word to divide, never, never a word to cause conflicts, little conflicts, never gossip. Gossip; what is it, really? It seems like nothing. It amounts to saying a few words about another person or telling a story, such as: This person did.... But in reality it isn’t so. Gossiping is an act of terrorism, because gossip is like terrorists who drop a bomb and leave. They destroy: with the tongue they destroy, they don’t make peace. But they’re clever, eh? They aren’t suicide bombers, no, no, they protect themselves well!

In Jesus all things are reconciled, peace is made by the blood of his cross. Thus, the price is high. Every time your mouth is about to say something that sows discord and divisiveness and to speak ill of another person the sound advice is to bite your tongue!. And, I assure you that if you do this exercise of biting your tongue instead of sowing discord, the first few times your tongue will swell, wounded, because the devil helps to do this because it is his work, it is his job to divide!

Before continuing this sacrifice — this is the sacrifice of reconciliation; here the Lord comes and we do the same as on Calvary. Lord you gave your life, give me the grace to make peace, to reconcile. You poured out your blood, let it not concern me should my tongue swell a little if I bite it before speaking ill of others. Let us thank the Lord for reconciling us with the Father, forgiving our sins, and giving us the opportunity to have peace in our souls.



26.10.18    Holy Mass  Santa Marta            Ephesians 4: 1-6       Luke 12: 54-59

https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/conflict/26.10.18.jpg

St. Paul from the solitude of his imprisonment was writing to the Ephesians a true "hymn to unity", recalling the "dignity of vocation". Paul’s solitude would accompany him until his death in Rome, because Christians were “too busy” in their "internal struggles". And before Paul, Jesus Himself “asked for the grace of unity from the Father for all of us."

Yet, today we are "used to breathing the air of
conflict". Every day, on the TV and in newspapers, we hear about conflicts and wars "one after the other", "without peace, without unity”. Agreements made to stop conflicts are ignored, thus the arms race and preparation for war and destruction go ahead.

Even
world institutions created with the best of intentions for peace and unity, fail to come to an agreement because of a veto here and an interest there ... While they are struggling to arrive at peace agreements, children have no food, no school, no education and hospitals because the war has destroyed everything.

There is a tendency to destruction, war and
disunity in us. It is the tendency that the devil, the enemy and destroyer of humanity sows in our hearts. The Apostle teaches us that the journey of unity is, so to say, clad or “armoured' with the bond of peace. Peace, he said, leads to unity.

We who are used to
insulting and shouting at each other, need to make peace and unity among us with gentleness and patience

Christians open your hearts and make peace in the world taking the path of the “three little things” - "
humility, gentleness and patience". Paul's advice is “bear with one another in love". It’s not easy as there is always a judgement, a condemnation which leads to separation and distances

When a
rift is created between members of the family, the devil is happy with the start of war . The advice is then to bear with one another because we always have an excuse to be annoyed and impatient because we are all sinners with defects. St. Paul, inspired by Jesus at the Last Supper who urged for “one body and one spirit”, thus urges us to “preserve the unity of spirit through the bond of peace".

The next step is to see the horizon of peace with God, just as Jesus made us see the horizon of peace with prayer: “Father, may they be one, as You and I are one'. In today's Gospel of Luke Jesus advises us to strike an
agreement with our adversary along the way. It’s good advice, because "it is not difficult to come to an agreement at the beginning of a conflict.

The advice of Jesus is to
settle the matter and make peace at the beginning, which calls for humility, gentleness and patience. One can build peace throughout the world with these little things, which are the attitudes of Jesus who is humble, meek and forgives everything.

Today we, the world, our families and our society need peace. I invite Christians to start putting into practice humility, gentleness and patience saying this is the path to making peace and consolidating unity