Pope, celebrating Palm Sunday, urges Easter truce in Ukraine

Pope Francis in St Peter's Square on Palm Sunday. Photo credit: Sala Stampa Vaitcana

  VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday by denouncing the "folly of war" and calling for an Easter truce in Ukraine as a prelude to peace even if it means "some sacrifice" during negotiations, saying there is no victory "in planting a flag on a pile of rubble." The pontiff made the appeal during an open air Mass in St. Peter's Square under bright sunshine that marked his first appearance in the vast piazza since the start of the Coronavirus epidemic two years ago.

 In his homily, delivered before he toured the square in his popemobile waving to the crowd of some 50,000 pilgrims and faithful, Francis, reflecting on the words of Christ, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,'  said "When we resort to violence, we show that we no longer know anything about God, who is our Father, or even about others, who are our brothers and sisters.  We lose sight of why we are in the world and even end up committing senseless acts of cruelty.  We see this in the folly of war, where Christ is crucified yet another time."
 "Christ is once more nailed to the Cross in mothers who mourn the unjust death of husbands and sons.  He is crucified in refugees who flee from bombs with children in their arms.  He is crucified in the elderly left alone to die; in young people deprived of a future; in soldiers sent to kill their brothers and sisters," the Argentine pope said. 
 "Brothers and sisters, in the course of this week, let us cling to the certainty that God can forgive every sin, bridge every distance, and turn all mourning into dancing (cf. Ps  30:12).  The certainty that with Jesus there is always a place for everyone.  That with Jesus things are never over.  That with him, it is never too late.  With God, we can always come back to life," the pope said.
 "Take courage!  Let us journey toward Easter with his forgiveness.  For Christ constantly intercedes for us before the Father (cf. Heb 7:25).  Gazing upon our violent and tormented world, he never tires of repeating."
 At the end of the Mass, Francis added "We are in the days preceding Easter. We are preparing to celebrate the victory of the Lord Jesus Christ over sin and death – over sin and death – not over someone and against someone else. But today, there is a war. Because there is something to be one this way, according to the way of the world? This is only the way to lose. Why not allow Him to win? Christ bore his cross to free us from the dominion of evil. He died so that life, love, peace might reign."
"Let the weapons be put down! Let the Easter truce begin. But not to provide more weapons and pick up the combat again – no! – a truce that will lead to peace, through real negotiation that is even disposed to some sacrifice for the good of the people. In fact, what victory is there in planting a flag on a pile of rubble?"
Nothing is impossible for God. We entrust this to Him through the intercession of the Virgin Mary.