​Pope prays for victims of weekend blasts in Turkey

October 12, 2015 | posted by Catholic News Agency


Pope prays for victims of weekend blasts in Turkey  

Pope Francis expressed his condolences Sunday for those affected by attacks in Ankara during a protest over the weekend which has left at least 95 people dead.

Addressing the crowds in St. Peter's Square following the Angelus Oct. 11, the Pope said he received the news of Saturday's attacks “with great pain."

“Pain for the many killed. Pain for the wounded. Pain because the perpetrators attacked unarmed persons who were protesting for peace.”

“While I pray for that beloved country, I ask the Lord to welcome the souls of the departed, and to comfort the suffering and (their) families.”

The Oct. 10 attack believed to have been perpetrated by two suicide bombers struck a group of pro-Kurdish demonstrators and labor activists who were holding a rally near the capital city's main train station, three weeks ahead of an election, according to Reuters.

Before reciting the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel reading of the day. During his reflection, he issued a challenge to all the young people in the Square as to whether they would joyfully follow Christ, or sadly walk away, like the rich man depicted in Sunday's readings.

“Have you felt the gaze of Jesus on you?” the Pope asked. “How do you want to respond? Would you prefer to leave this Square with the joy that Jesus gives us, or with the sadness of heart which the world offers?”

The Pope centered his pre-Angelus address on the day's Gospel reading from Mark, which recounts the rich man, who is described as “young”, asking Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.

“Eternal life,” the Pope explains, does not refer merely to the afterlife, but to a life that is full, “accomplished, without limits.”

The rich man in the Gospel says he has followed the commandments “which refer to love of one another” since his youth, but recognizes that his “desire for fulness” has not been satisfied, the Roman Pontiff said.

Christ responds by challenging the man to sell everything, give to the poor, and follow him. However, because his heart is “divided by two masters: God and money,” the Pope said, he is unable to respond to this call, and sadly leaves.

As the Gospel recounts, Christ says it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. He adds therefore that salvation is impossible for man, but not for God.

“If we entrust ourselves to the Lord, we can overcome every obstacle that prevents us from following him on the journey of faith,” the Pope said. “Entrust yourself to the Lord. He gives us strength. He gives us salvation. He accompanies us on the journey.”

Christ then promises that those who leave behind everything and follow him will have eternal life, and will receive a “hundredfold.”

In receiving this “hundredfold,” the pope said in a Catholic News Agency report: “we are deprived of goods and receive in exchange the delight of true good; we are freed from the slavery of things and gain the freedom of service for love; one renounces possession and receives the joy of the gift.”

“The young man was not won over by the gaze of Jesus' love, and therefore was not able to change,” Pope Francis said. “It is only in welcoming the Lord's love with humble gratitude that we are freed from the seductions of idols and the blindness of our illusions.”