During his Angelus on Sunday, July 17, Pope Francis re-called the terrible events of last Thursday when a man ploughed a lorry into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, killing over 80 and injuring many others.
Remembering the loss of innocent lives, many of whom were children, the Pope said, “the pain of the massacre is alive in our hearts.” “I am close to each family and the entire French nation which is in mourning.” He added, “may God, the good Father, welcome all the victims into his peace, support the injured and comfort their families. May he dissolve every project of terror and death, so that man no longer attempts to spill his brother’s blood.”
Before the recitation of the Marian prayer the Holy Father spoke of the importance of hospitality calling it a real Christian virtue, but one which at times the world neglects. He drew his inspiration for this theme from the Sunday Gospel in which St Luke re-counts the story of Jesus who is welcomed into the home of two sisters Martha and Mary. They both offer their hospitality in different ways. Martha is busy preparing things while Mary stays to listen to Jesus’ words. When Martha protests that she has to do every-thing, Jesus reminds her that in order to welcome him many things are not necessary; indeed, only one thing is necessary, said Pope Francis, to listen to Jesus, “show him a fraternal attitude, so he feels what it is like to be part of the family, and not in a temporary shelter.”
Putting the Gospel reading in the context of life today, Pope Francis gave an example. He said that there are many people in nursing homes and hospices, but it is not always the place where real hospitality is practiced. He also noted that people are so taken up with the pace of life, with big and small problems that we do not take the time to listen to one another. So at the conclusion of his address the Pope invited people to dedicate more time to listening because he said, the root of peace is in the capacity to listen.