.- âThe peace that Jesus brings is the fruit of a constant struggle against evilâ, Pope Benedict XVI told the faithful today. And he explained that that struggle can result in division.
The Holy Father was referring to todayâs reading from the Gospel of Luke (12:51-53) in which Jesus presents his mission of bringing peace to the world. Quoting Jesusâ words in full, the Pope said: âDo you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.â
Contrary to a superficial reading of the Gospel, the pope told pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo that anyone who âknows even the slightest about the Gospel knows that this is the message of peace par excellenceâ.
âAs St Paul wrote, the crucified and risen Jesus is our peaceâ, the Holy Father said. He is the one who âbattles against the wall of enmity to inaugurate the Kingdom of God that is love, joy and peaceâ. But the Pope, aware that this passage can be hard to understand, explained it further.
âThis expression of Christâ, the Pope said, âmeans that the peace He has come to bring is not synonymous with the simple absence of conflict.â On the contrary, the Pope said, âthe peace of Jesus is the fruit of a constant struggle against evil. The confrontation Jesus talks about is not against man or human strength, but against the enemy of God and man, Satan.â
âWhoever resists this enemy,â Benedict XVI said, âremains faithful to Godâ. But resistance, he added, must necessarily mean confronting âmisunderstanding and, at times, quite real persecution.â Anyone who wishes to follow Christ and apply himself to cause of truth without compromise âmust know that they will meet with oppositionâ, the Pope said, and become âsigns of division between persons, even within their own familiesâ. While love of parents is a âsacred commandmentâ, he explained, that love must be âauthenticâ and âcan never be set above the love of God in Christâ.
âIn such a way, following in the footsteps of Christ, Christians become instruments of peace, according to the celebrated example of St Francis of Assisiâ, Benedict XVI told the crowd. âIt is not an inconsistent or apparent peace, but real, pursued with courage and tenacity in daily tasks, overcoming evil with good.â
Benedict also held up the Virgin Mary, the Queen of Peace, as someone who shared in Jesusâ struggle against the Evil One: âWe invoke her maternal intercession, because she helps us to always be a witness to the peace of Christ, never stooping to compromise with evilâ.
In closing, the Holy Father sent his cordial greetings to the Communion and Liberation movement which is this week meeting in Rimini, north east Italy. Referring to the theme of the meeting, âTruth is the destiny to which we have been calledâ, the Pope said that âthe search for truth, that is, the search for Godâ, is the âdeepest calling of manâ.