The task of the Holy Land Editions is the dissemination of the “Fifth Gospel”, i.e., “the historical and geographical environment in which the Word of God was revealed and took on the flesh in Jesus of Nazareth, for us and for our salvation.” This “also means talking about the people who live there at present, the life of Christians of the various Churches and denominations, but also that of Jews and Muslims, in an attempt to build, in a complex and difficult context such as the Middle East, a fraternal society.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis spoke to a delegation from the Custody of the Holy Land on the centennial of The Holy Land Review. In his address, Francis urged them to tell the world the story of fraternity among Christians from different Churches and between Christians, Jews and Muslims.
The delegation included Custos Father Francesco Patton OFM, people who work in magazine’s various language editions, employees of the Holy Land Editions, and associates of the Christian Media Center. The pontiff remained seated during the audience, apologising for “a strong pain in the leg”.
Francis stressed the importance of the work of sharing the “Fifth Gospel”, that is, “the historical and geographical environment in which the Word of God was revealed and took on the flesh in Jesus of Nazareth, for us and for our salvation.”
This “also means talking about the people who live there at present, the life of Christians of the various Churches and denominations, but also that of Jews and Muslims, in an attempt to build, in a complex and difficult context such as the Middle East, a fraternal society.”
For this reason, “I encourage you to tell the story of fraternity that is possible: the fraternity between Christians of Churches and confessions that are unfortunately still separated, but which in the Holy Land are often already close to unity. . . Speak about the fraternity that is possible among all the children of Abraham: Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Speak about the ecclesial fraternity that is open to migrants, displaced persons, and refugees, in order to restore to them the dignity they lost when they had to leave their homeland in search of a future for themselves and their children.”
Expressing his gratitude to the staff of the magazine, he noted that, in order to realise “your reports, investigations and publications you do not limit yourselves to the quietest territories,” but “also visit the places with greater difficulties and suffering, such as Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Gaza.”
“I know that you try to present positive stories, those of active resistance against the evil of war, those of reconciliation, those of restoring dignity to children robbed of their childhood, those of refugees with their tragedies but also with their dreams and their hopes.
For this reason, “Thank you because to do your work you have not spared the soles of your shoes, and I know that you will not hesitate to do the same in the future in order to tell of all this. In fact, in order to communicate a given reality, nothing can fully replace personal experience.”
In the Holy Land, above all one can see, “indeed touch the reality of the history that God has realised with men,” from Abraham to the empty tomb of Jesus.
“The Pasqual mystery enlightens and gives meaning to today’s history and to the journey of the peoples who now live in that Land, one which is unfortunately marred by wounds and conflict, but which the grace of God always opens to the hope of fraternity and peace.”
“In this sense too, in speaking about the Holy Land, you speak about the ‘Fifth Gospel’, the one that God continues to write in history. Through the means of social communication, you can enrich the faith of many, even those who do not have the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the holy places. You do this through your professional commitment, performed every day with competence in the service of the Gospel.
“This is precious for believers around the world and, at the same time, it goes to support Christians living in the Land of Jesus. I want to take this opportunity to express my closeness to them. I always remember them in my prayers.”
Finally, “please, as you travel home, bring my greeting and my blessing to the families and Christian communities of the Holy Land.”