Pope at Mass in Bahrain: Love always and love everyone

Pope Francis presides at Mass in Bahrain's National Stadium on the third day of his 39th Apostolic Journey abroad, and urges the faithful to shatter the chains of evil and break the spiral of violence by loving everyone, always.

By Francesca Merlo

Pope Francis started his third day in Bahrain by celebrating Holy Mass in the National Stadium. In his homily, the Holy Father reminded all those gathered of the prophet Isaiah's words about the Messiah whom God will raise up: “His power shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace”.

He noted that, although this sounds like a contradiction, as "we often notice that the more power is sought, the more peace is threatened", the prophet announces the extraordinary news that "the Messiah to come will indeed be powerful, not in the manner of a commander who wages war and rules over others, but as the 'Prince of Peace' who reconciles people with God and with one another."

“His great power does not come from the force of violence, but from the weakness of love.”

The Holy Father then asked those present to stop and reflect on the phrase "to love always and to love everyone".

Pope Francis is greeted by thousands of faithful as he arrives in Bahrain's National Stadium
Pope Francis is greeted by thousands of faithful as he arrives in Bahrain's National Stadium

Love always

Jesus’ words today invite us to love always, said the Pope. "He knows that within our relationships there is a daily struggle between love and hatred", and in this way, too, within our hearts "there is a daily clash between light and darkness". With this in mind, the Pope noted that Jesus suffers when He sees, all around the world, "ways of exercising power that feed on oppression and violence, seeking to expand their own space by restricting that of others, imposing their own domination and restricting basic freedoms, and in this way oppressing the weak".  

The Pope went on to ask what we are to do in such situations, before responding that "the Lord asks of us not to dream idealistically of a world of fraternity, but to choose, starting with ourselves, to practice universal fraternity, concretely and courageously, persevering in good even when evil is done to us, breaking the spiral of vengeance, disarming violence, demilitarizing the heart". 

A view of the main stage
A view of the main stage

We must always strive for peace, said the Pope, adding that "peace cannot be restored if a harsh word is answered with an even harsher one, if one slap leads to another."

“We need to disarm, to shatter the chains of evil, break the spiral of violence, and put an end to resentment, complaints, and self-pity. We need to keep loving, always. This is Jesus’ way of giving glory to the God of heaven and building peace on earth.”

Love everyone

Pope Francis went on, then, to focus on the concept of loving everyone. He noted that although we can be committed to loving, it is not enough if we restrict this commitment to our close circles. "If we want to be children of the Father and build a world of brothers and sisters, the real challenge is to learn how to love everyone, even our enemies."

“To love our enemies is to make this earth a reflection of heaven.”

Bringing his homily to a close, Pope Francis stressed that the power of Jesus is love, and He gives us the power to love in this way, a power which "to us, seems superhuman", he said. 

Finally, the Pope thanked all those present in Bahrain's National Stadium and assured them that with him he brought the affection and closeness of the universal Church, "which looks to you and embraces you, which loves you and encourages you". 

Awali, Holy Mass presided over by Pope Francis

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05 November 2022, 07:52