Pope Francis paused during his Sunday Angelus address in St. Peter's Square yesterday to ask the pilgrims assembled there to pray for peace in the extremely volatile situation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the Holy Land. The Pope reflected on the fact that some people might be keen to say that the meeting he held last month between the Presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority may have been in for naught. “Some might think that such a meeting took place in vain, but no, because prayer helps us not to allow ourselves to be overcome by evil, nor resign ourselves to violence and hatred taking over dialogue and reconciliation.”
“I urge the parties concerned and all those who have political responsibility at local and international levels to spare a prayer and make some effort to put an end to all hostilities and to achieve the desired peace for the good of all,” the Pontiff declared. Following these remarks, the Pope then asked all those in the square to join their hearts in prayer for peace in the Holy Land.
Tensions between the Israeli government and Hamas have risen since the recent murder of three Israeli teenagers, followed by an apparent "retaliation murder" of a Palestinian teen. Several news agencies are reporting that Israeli agents dropped leaflets into the city of Beit Lahia warning if another imminent Israeli strike, and there was one in that town yesterday where a bomb apparently hit a home for disabled people. “Now, Lord, help us! Grant us peace, teach us peace, guide us toward peace. Open our eyes and our hearts and give us the courage to say: ‘Never again war!’ ‘Everything is destroyed by war,’” Pope Francis reflected, "make us willing to listen to the cry of our citizens who are asking us to transform our weapons into instruments of peace, our fears into trust, and our tensions into forgiveness.”