“And the gesture of Jesus, who immediately reaches out his hand and grasps that of his friend, must be contemplated for a long time: Jesus is this, Jesus does this, it is the hand of the Father who never abandons us; the strong and faithful hand of the Father, who always and only wants our good,” he said.
After praying the Angelus in Latin, Pope Francis noted the presence of a group of pilgrims holding the Lebanese flag in St. Peter’s Square and said his thoughts have been with the country since the deadly explosion in Beirut Aug. 4.
“The catastrophe of last Tuesday calls everyone, starting with the Lebanese, to collaborate for the common good of this beloved country,” he said.
“Lebanon has a peculiar identity, the result of the meeting of various cultures, which has emerged over time as a model of living together,” he noted. “Of course, this coexistence is now very fragile, we know, but I pray that, with the help of God and the loyal participation of all, it may be reborn free and strong.”
Francis invited the Church in Lebanon to be close to her people during this “Calvary,” and asked the international community to be generous in helping the country.
“And please, I ask the bishops, priests and religious of Lebanon to stay close to the people and to live a lifestyle marked by evangelical poverty, without luxury, because your people suffer, and suffer so much,” he concluded.
The pope also noted the 75th anniversary of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which took place on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945.
“While I remember with emotion and gratitude the visit I made to those places last year, I renew my invitation to pray and to commit ourselves to a world totally free from nuclear weapons,” he said.