This Saturday evening March 6, the Pope became for a time a simple priest of Baghdad. At St. Joseph’s Chaldean Cathedral, Francis celebrated Mass as one of them on March 6, in the Chaldean rite – a first for a pope.
In all, 180 people – a very limited number – had been authorized to enter the cathedral, through a system of tickets distributed to Chaldean parishes in Baghdad. At the podium, a choir of parishioners animated the Mass, which was celebrated in Italian, Arabic and Chaldean, while the Universal Prayer was read in other languages spoken in Iraq, such as Kurdish or Turkmen.
→ LIVE – Pope’s trip to Iraq: find the story of the day on Saturday
The Pope delivered a homily in which he encouraged his one-night parishioners to meditate on the wisdom and promises of God. Commenting on a passage from the book of wisdom in the Old Testament, Francis in a way defined wisdom according to divine criteria, stressing that it did not meet a human definition.
“For the world, he who has less is discarded and he who has more is privileged,” said the Pope. For God no: he who has more power is subjected to rigorous examination, while the last are the privileged ones of God. “
“Witness is the way to embody the wisdom of Jesus”
It is therefore, he continued, to live like Jesus. “At this point, there may be a doubt: if I live as Jesus asks, what do I gain? Am I not at risk of being trampled on by others? Does Jesus’ proposal fit? Or is she the loser? She is not a loser, but a wise one. “
He went on to encourage his listeners to show perseverance, despite the particularly difficult situation for Christians in Iraq. “To become blessed, it is not necessary to be heroes from time to time, but to be witnesses every day,” he stressed. Testimony is the way to embody the wisdom of Jesus. This is how we change the world: not by the power of force or by force, but with the Beatitudes. “
The text of the Beatitudes
It is this wisdom according to divine criteria that should push those who believe to have confidence in “the promises of God”, continued Francis, in particular those expressed in another text proclaimed during this celebration, the Beatitudes.
“God’s promises ensure unparalleled joy and do not disappoint. But how are they accomplished? Through our weaknesses, ”he developed. “God makes blessed those who walk the path of their interior poverty to the end. “
“And I today,” added Francis, “I thank him with you and for you, because here, where in antiquity wisdom was born, in these times many witnesses have arisen, often neglected by the chronic, but precious in the sight of God. »A strong message of encouragement sent by this special priest so awaited by his parishioners for one evening, and acclaimed on his exit by youyous.
After the service, Patriarch Louis Raphaël Sako thanked the Pope for coming during his visit to support the idea of a “common identity”, beyond religious and ethnic affiliations. He saw the possibility of “freeing oneself from extremism and terrorism, by training children and young people capable of concrete daily relationships open to reception, dialogue, mutual understanding, tolerance, love, kindness, peace and respect for life and the environment. “