During the traditional inflight press conference on his journey back to Rome at the end of his pilgrimage to Colombia, Pope Francis replied to a journalist’s question regarding the possibility of another visit to that Latin American country one day, saying:“I would at least like the motto of the journey to be ‘Let’s take the second step”.
Let’s take the first stop was the motto of this pilgrimage and we can truly say that the Pope maintained this impetus: now an entire people is proceeding down the difficult road to reconciliation with faith.
In Colombia, announcement of the Word of reconciliation is particularly urgent. We have been entrusted with the Word, the ministry of reconciliation, Saint Paul reminds us in his Second Letter to the Corinthians.
Widening the horizon of his reflection, the Pope also recalled that reconciliation with Creation is urgent: «we are arrogant, we do not want to see. But the scientists are very clear about the human influence on climate change»
We are living at a time of growing awareness of man’s misdeeds towards Creation. Creation is deteriorating around us, withering under our blows. There is urgent need for reconciliation between man and the universe; we should also recognize that an exaggerated Anthropocentrism , often transmitted by a certain Christian theology, has encouraged bad behaviour towards nature. In particular, it is Western man, who is cutting down his forests, suffocating in urban pollution, polluting his seas, who must regain his respect and love of nature.
During this extraordinary pilgrimage, Pope Francis reminded us that the Church is the sign, the watchman who tells us that it is possible, indeed it is in the nature of man, the image of God, to put love at the foundation of the collective experience. Reconciliation with Creation, among men, among peoples, among religions, will not be negated by history, because in Christ the reconciliation has already begun. “God has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (2Cor5,18-20). Let us think about what has been entrusted to us ;we have not been entrusted with the ministry of war, of racism, of nationalism, of populism, of colonialism, we have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation.
Saying this we immediately realize that it must be said with a penitential attitude: we are not a reconciled community; Christians are divided; within the Church itself there is the diabolical seed of division.
But why haven’t we been reconciled? Why doesn’t the Word of God find its rightful place in us? God said to the prophet: “Thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me”(Ez 33,7). At times we have announced words which did not issue from the mouth of God; we have said many things, saying they were the will of God and instead this wasn’t true, they were – and at times still are today – words of power, ideology, moralism, words that win and thus we have become ministers of division. We must not say words that win but words which save.
The Word of the Gospel does not make war, it is not a word that wins but that saves, that loves and reconciles. We have been entrusted with this Word. Faith is not a competition, or the defence of any structure, but the road to pursue in history pending full communion with God who will be all in all.
Once again it is the little ones, the children who can be the true teachers of reconciliation, the Pope reminds us, summarizing a journey which had just ended: “What most impressed me about the Colombians: in the four cities I visited there were always crowds on the streets; fathers and mothers holding up their children to let them see the Pope and so the Pope could bless them. As if they were saying: “This is my treasure, this is my hope, this is my future. I believe this. ”. The tenderness. The eyes of those fathers and mothers. Wonderful, wonderful! This is a symbol, the symbol of hope for the future. A people capable of creating children and showing. A people which is capable of producing children and then showing them, as if they were saying: “This is my treasure”, is a people who has hope and has a future”.