Pope Francis calls for ‘peace, a future full of cradles not tombs’
In his homily delivered in Kossuth Square in front of Parliament, the pope said “Let us try to be – in our words, deeds and daily activities – like Jesus, an open door: a door that is never shut in anyone’s face, a door that enables everyone to enter and experience the beauty of the Lord’s love and forgiveness”.
“Let the Lord of life enter our hearts, with his words of consolation and healing, so that we can then go forth as open doors within society. Be open and inclusive, then, and in this way, help Hungary to grow in fraternity, which is the path of peace,” said the pontiff.
He said that “this morning, in this place, we sense the joy of our being God’s holy people. All of us were born of his call. He called us together, and so we are his people, his flock, his Church”.
Noting that “we are diverse and come from different communities”, the pontiff said “it is good for us to be together: bishops and priests, religious and lay faithful”.
“And it is beautiful to share this joy of ours with the ecumenical delegations, the leaders of the Jewish community, the representatives of civil institutions and the diplomatic corps. This is the meaning of catholicity: we Christians, all of us called by name by the Good Shepherd, are summoned to receive and spread his love, to make his fold inclusive and never to exclude others.”
The pope called Jesus “the door that leads us back into the world”. “He urges us to go forth to encounter our brothers and sisters. Let us never forget that all of us, without exception, are called to this; we are called to step out of our comfort zones and find the courage to reach out to all those peripheries that need the light of the Gospel.”
He called it “sad and painful” to see “the closed doors of our selfishness with regard to others; the closed doors of our individualism amid a society of growing isolation; the closed doors of our indifference towards the underprivileged and those who suffer; the doors we close towards those who are foreign or unlike us, towards migrants or the poor. Closed doors also within our ecclesial communities: doors closed to other people, closed to the world, closed to those who are “irregular”, closed to those who long for God’s forgiveness”. “Please, let us open those doors! Let us try to be – in our words, deeds and daily activities – like Jesus, an open door: a door that is never shut in anyone’s face, a door that enables everyone to enter and experience the beauty of the Lord’s love and forgiveness”.
“Be open and inclusive, then, and in this way, help Hungary to grow in fraternity, which is the path of peace,” said Pope Francis.
Cardinal Peter Erdo, the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, led the Liturgy of the Eucharist at the mass.
Closing the ceremony, Erdo thanked Pope Francis for “coming to us, to people whose language is so different that it is difficult to find even a similar language all around the world”. To people who have insisted on western Christianity for a thousand years, he added.
He thanked the pope for travelling to Hungary to visit the poor and refugees who had arrived from neighbouring Ukraine. “We thank you for visiting the poor, sick children and young people who represent the greatest challenge and the greatest opportunity to our church,” the cardinal said.
Erdo also said that people living along the Danube had learnt that the river was not only a border but it also “connects people if bridges are built”. He cited the example of King Saint Stephen, Hungary’s first king, who is today respected as a saint by the Catholic and the Orthodox churches because he was an advocate for Christ in a period when there was full unity between the churches of the East and West.
Pope Francis, in his closing prayer appealed to world leaders asking them “to build peace and to give the younger generations a future of hope, not war, a future full of cradles not tombs”. He said he entrusted to patroness Magna Domina Hungarorum all Hungarians, and the faith and the future of the entire continent of Europe and the cause of peace.
The pontiff thanked all Hungarians for their warm welcome and affection paid to him during his entire visit. “With gratitude for these days, I keep you in my heart and I ask you to pray for me. Isten aldd meg a magyart! [God bless the Hungarians!],” he said.
The mass was attended by President Katalin Novak, Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Parliamentary Speaker Laszlo Kover, among others.