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Pope Francis: audience, “Mafiosi think they can defeat evil with evil, because they do not have hope”

“Mafiosi think they can defeat evil with evil, so they seek revenge and do the things we all know about, but they do not know what humility, mercy and gentleness are. This is because Mafiosi do not have hope. Think about this!”. Pope Francis made these off-the-cuff remarks in front of a crowd of over 15,000 faithful present in St Peter’s Square today. The Pontiff explained that “we are not called to give a reason for our hope in theoretical terms, by words, but rather by the witness of our lives, both inside and outside the Christian community”. “If Christ is alive and dwells in us, in our hearts, then we also have to let Him reveal Himself, without hiding Him, to let Him work in us”, the Pope urged the faithful. “This means that the Lord Jesus has increasingly to become our role model, that we have to learn to behave as He Himself behaved. We have to do as Jesus did”. “The hope that dwells in us cannot therefore remain hidden inside us, in our hearts”, Pope Francis admonished. “It would be a weak hope, a hope that does not have the courage to come out and be manifested. Our hope, as the Psalm 33 cited by Peter tells us, must necessarily be released outwards, it must take on the exquisite and unmistakable form of tenderness, respect and goodness towards the other, to the point of forgiving even those who do us harm”. “A person without hope is unable to forgive, s/he is unable to offer the consolation of forgiveness and to receive the consolation of forgiveness”, the Pope added off the cuff. “Yes, because this is what Jesus did, and continues to do, through those who make room for Him in their hearts and lives, in the awareness that evil cannot be defeated with evil, but rather with humility, mercy, and gentleness”.

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