Pope prays for dialogue, reconciliation in Jerusalem

By Cindy Wooden

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called on Muslims and
Jews in the Holy Land to “moderation and dialogue” as tensions
continued around a key site in Jerusalem that is sacred to members of both

After reciting the Angelus July 23, the pope asked people
gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the midday prayer to join him in asking the
Lord to inspire reconciliation and peace in the region.

Tensions in Jerusalem have been high since July 14 when
three Israeli Arabs armed with knives and guns killed two Israeli police
officers at an entrance to the site the Jews call Temple Mount and the Muslims call Haram al-Sharif.
The site includes the Western Wall and Al Aqsa mosque.

In his main Angelus talk, Pope Francis spoke about the
parable of the weeds among the wheat from the Sunday Gospel reading.

The farmer in the parable from the Gospel of Matthew tells
his workers not to pull up all the weeds because they might uproot the wheat,
but to wait until the harvest when the wheat and weeds can be separated.

“With this image, Jesus tells us that in this world
good and evil are so intertwined that it is impossible to separate them and
eradicate all the evil — only God can do that,” the pope said.

Human beings are called to the “difficult exercise of
discernment” in choosing between good and what is evil, he said, and when
they fail — which all people do sometimes — the church stands ready to help
with the grace of baptism and of confession.

Like the farmer in the parable, the pope said, God calls
Christians to be patient as they await the harvest.

“Patience means preferring a church that is leaven in
the dough, that is not afraid of getting its hands dirty washing the clothes of
its children, rather than being a church of the ‘pure,’ who insist on judging
beforehand who is in the kingdom of God and who isn’t.”

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