By David Sedeño
The Texas Catholic
ROME—Pope Francis elevated 17 new cardinals to the College of Cardinals Nov. 19, including former Dallas Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, who is now the prelate of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life at the Vatican.
With other cardinals, archbishops and bishops from around the world in attendance, along with family and friends from their home dioceses, the new cardinals heard the continuing message of mercy from Pope Francis.
Referring to the Gospel of Luke, 6:27-36, known as the “Sermon on the Plain” about the time after Jesus selected his 12 apostles and that a great multitude of people had gathered to hear Jesus and that Jesus reached out to the people in the plains, rather than staying on the mountain with the apostles.
He said that sermon is accompanied by four actions of mercy: love, do good, bless and pray and that many times those he asks us to pray for those who may be considered “enemies.”
“He minces no words. He uses no euphemisms,” Pope Francis said. “He tells us: love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you; pray for those who mistreat you.”
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He said that current times make such actions difficult because of grave global issues.
“We live at a time in which polarization and exclusion are burgeoning and considered the only way to resolve conflicts,” he said. “We see, for example, how quickly those among us with the status of a stranger, an immigrant, or a refugee, become a threat, take on the status of an enemy.
“An enemy because they come from a distant country or have different customs. An enemy because of the color of their skin, their language or their social class. An enemy because they think differently or even have a different faith,” he said. “Everything and everyone then begins to savor of animosity. Little by little, our differences turn into symptoms of hostility, threats and violence.”
He said that the College of Cardinals represent the universality of the church and they should continue to use their differences of having different traditions, skin colors, languages and social backgrounds for the good of mankind.
“We think different and we celebrate our faith in a variety of rites,” he said. “None of this makes us enemies; instead, it is one of our greatest riches.”