Pope, celebrating Palm Sunday, cautions against 'desperation and discord' in pandemic

 VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis called for prayers on Palm Sunday for people killed in an attack on Christians in Indonesia and cautioned against the Covid pandemic leading to “distrust, desperation and discord.”

 Speaking from the library of the Apostolic Palace during his Angelus address, the pontiff said “let us pray for all the victims of violence, especially those of this morning’s attack in Indonesia, in front of the Cathedral of Makassar.”

The pope noted that “we  have  begun  Holy  Week.  For  the  second  time  we  will  live  it  within  the  context  of  the pandemic. Last year we were more upset; this year it is more trying for us. And the economic crisis has become heavy.”

 “In this historical and social situation, what is God doing? He takes up the cross. Jesus takes up the cross, that is, he takes on the evil that this situation entails, the physical and psychological evil – and above all the spiritual evil – because the Evil One is taking advantage of the crisis to disseminate distrust, desperation, and discord.”

“And us? What should we do? The one who shows us is the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who is also his first disciple. She followed her Son.”

 “She took upon herself her own portion of suffering, of darkness, of confusion, and she walked the way of the passion keeping the lamp of faith lit in her heart. With God’s grace, we too can make that journey.”

 “And, along the daily way of the cross, we meet the faces of so many brothers and sisters in difficulty: let us not pass by, let us allow our hearts to be moved with compassion, and let us draw near.”

 “When it happens, like the Cyrenian, we might think: “Why me?”

 “But then we will discover the gift that, without our own merit, has touched us.”

“May the Madonna who always precedes us on the path of faith help us,” Francis said.