“May God convert the hearts of the drug sicarios”

During the meeting with priests, religious, seminarians and their families, Francis recalls the scourge of drug-trafficking, “Medellin reminds me of the lives of young people destroyed by drug Sicarios.” And he warns, “Child abuse has no place in our community”

The Pope meets with priests, religious, consecrated persons, seminarians and their families in Medellin

Pubblicato il 10/09/2017
Ultima modifica il 10/09/2017 alle ore 01:29
correspondent from MEDELLIN

“Young people are naturally restless, that kind of restlessness that has often been deceived and destroyed by drug sicarios (hired killers)”. Pope Francis raises his eyes from his written speech to talk about the scourge of drug trafficking, of which this city has become a symbol. Medellin reminds me of this - the Pope adds off script - it evokes me so many young lives that have been ended, discarded and destroyed. I urge you to remember and accompany this mournful procession. And to ask forgiveness for those who have destroyed the illusions of so many young people, to ask the Lord to convert their hearts. To ask that this defeat of young humanity be brought to an end.”  


In the covered stadium La Macarena, thousands of priests, religious, nuns, consecrated persons, seminarians and their relatives greeted Pope Francis in his last appointment of the day in Medellin. The consecrated persons’ embrace is an opportunity to reflect once again on the essential aspect of religious vocation, but without forgetting those who deceive young people, those who destroy their lives. The Pope speaks positively about the restlessness of the younger generations. Adding, again off script: “During the WYD trip to Poland, while I was having lunch with fifteen young people, one asked me: what can I say to my class-mate, who is a young atheist and does not believe? I replied: look, the last thing you need to do is telling him something. Start behaving in such a way that his restlessness will push him to ask questions, and then you can begin saying something. This “callejar”, walking on the street, is important, making faith walk; life”.  


Then Bergoglio reminds us that “we all have in common the experience of Jesus who comes to meet us, who chooses us first” who “seizes our hearts”. Francis recalls that vocations do not always arise in optimal situations and even in Colombia they were born “in situations full of contradictions of light and darkness, of complex relational realities. We all would like to count on a world with straightforward families and relationships, but we are a part of this cultural crisis and, in the midst of it, in response to it, God continues to call.”  


“It would be almost unrealistic to think that all of you heard the call of God in the midst of families sustained by a strong love and full of values such as generosity, compromise, fidelity and patience; some are like this, and I pray to God that they are many. But keeping our feet firmly planted on the ground means recognizing that our vocational experiences, the awakening of God’s call, brings us closer to what God’s word already reveals and to what Colombia knows so well.” “This thread of suffering and bloodshed runs through numerous pages of the Bible, beginning with Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. We read of the disputes between the sons and the wives of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”  


But “ It has been this way since the beginning: God manifests his closeness and his election; he changes the course of events to call men and women in the frailty of their personal and shared history. Let us not be afraid, in that complex land, for God always brings about the miracle of producing good clusters on the vine, like arepas at breakfast.” Then the Pope improvised again, “Yesterday evening, a child with disabilities, in the group that welcomed me in the nunciature, said that the nucleus of the human being lies in vulnerability. And she explained why, and I had to ask her, “we are all vulnerable, but there is someone who is not vulnerable… And she replied: God. “But God wanted to make himself vulnerable, and he wanted to go out on the street with us, he wanted to live our history as it was, he wanted to become man in the midst of a contradiction, of something incomprehensible, with the acceptance of a girl who didn’t understand and yet obeyed, and of a just man who completed the task entrusted to him. But all this in the midst of contradictions”. 


Francis therefore recalled that “our call has to be in truth. There can be no place for deceit, hypocrisy or small-mindedness if we are branches of this vine, if our vocation is grafted onto Jesus.”  


In fact, the Pope adds, “Vocations associated with special consecrations die when they love to be sustained with honors, when they are driven by a search for personal reassurance and social advancement, when the motivation is “to climb the ladder”, to cleave to material interests and to strive shamefully for financial gain. As I have said before on other occasions, the devil enters through the wallet. This not only applies to the early stages of vocation; all of us have to be careful because the corrupting of men and women in the Church begins in this way, little by little, and then – as Jesus himself says – it takes root in the heart and it ends up dislodging God from our lives.”  


“There are some situations, customs and choices that evidence signs of dryness and death: they cannot keep hindering the flow of sap that nourishes and gives life! The poison of lies, obfuscation, manipulation and the abuse of the People of God, the weak and especially the elderly and young, can have no place in our communities; they are branches that are determined to dry us out and that God tells us to cut off.”  


But “ The good news is that the Lord is willing to cleanse us, that we will not be cut off, that as good disciples we are on the way. How does Jesus eliminate those things which lead to death and which take hold of our lives and distort his call? By inviting us to dwell in him. Dwelling does not only signify being, but rather also indicates maintaining a relationship that is alive, existential and absolutely necessary; it means to live and grow in an intimate and fruitful union with Jesus, “the source of eternal life.”  


“With the gaze and attitude of Jesus, who contemplates reality not as a judge, but rather as a good Samaritan; who recognizes the value of the people who walk with him, as well as their wounds and sins; who discovers their silent suffering and who is moved by peoples’ needs, above all when they are overwhelmed by injustice, inhumane poverty, indifference or by the perverse actions of corruption and violence.” “With Jesus’ gestures and words, which express love for those nearby and search for those far away; tender and firm in denouncing sin and in announcing the Gospel, joyful and generous in surrendering and in service, especially for the smallest among us, steadfastly rejecting the temptation to believe that all is lost, to accommodate ourselves or to become mere administrators of misfortune.” 


It is then necessary to contemplate the divinity of Jesus, meditating on his Word, praying and worshipping: “May all of our study help us to interpret reality with the eyes of God, that it may not be a way of avoiding what is happening to our people, nor be subject to the whim of fashions or ideologies. May our study not be overcome by nostalgia or the tendency to confine the mystery, nor may it be unwilling to respond to questions that people no longer ask themselves, and may it not abandon those who find themselves in an existential void and who question us from their worlds and cultures.” 


Finally, “we must remain in Christ to live in joy”. If we remain in him, his joy will be in us. We will not be sad disciples and bitter apostles. On the contrary, we will reflect and be heralds of true happiness, a complete joy that no one can take away. We will spread the hope of a new life that Christ has given to us. God’s call is not a heavy burden that robs us of joy. He does not want us to be immersed in a sadness and weariness that comes from activities lived poorly, but rather wants a spirituality that brings joy to our lives and even to our weariness.  


Our contagious joy must be our first testimony to the closeness and love of God.