Pope’s Angelus in Lithuania: fight temptation to dominate by serving others

By Robin Gomes

In his “Angelus” message at the end of the Mass at Santakos Park in Kaunas, Pope Francis urged  Lituhuanians to fight the ungodly temptation of dominating others with the antidote offered by Jesus – by being the last of all and the servant of all.

Pope Francis explained that the ungodly who claim to believe that “power is the norm of justice”, dominate the weak, use their power to impose a way of thinking, an ideology, a prevailing mindset.  Recalling the 1943 destruction of the ghetto of Vilnius, that was the climax of 2 years of the killing of the Jews.   The Holy Father lamented that in the ungodly, evil is always trying to destroy good.

Antidote against temptation to dominate

He urged Lithuanians to watch out against the resurgence of that “ pernicious attitude” of dominating others, saying any trace of it can taint the heart of generations that have not gone through those times.

The Pope said, Jesus offers us an antidote against the temptation of the desire for primacy and domination over others, which can dwell in our heart or in the heart of any society or country.   Jesus asks us “to be the last of all and the servant of all; to go to the place where no one else wants to go, where no one travels, the furthest peripheries; to serve and come to know the lowly and the rejected.”  “We could allow the Gospel of Jesus Christ to reach the depths of our lives, then the ‘globalization of solidarity’ would be a reality.”

Hill of Crosses

Recalling Lithuania’s famous Hill of Crosses, where thousands have planted their crosses, the Pope asked the faithful to implore the Blessed Virgin to help them all plant their own crosses of service and commitment to the needs of others, on that hill where the poor dwell, where care and concern are needed for the outcast and for minorities.  In this way, he said, “we can keep far from our lives and our cultures the possibility of destroying one another, of marginalizing, of continuing to discard whatever we find troublesome or uncomfortable.”

At the end, the Pope said that in the afternoon he would stop at the monument of the Vilnius Ghetto to pray on the 75th anniversary of its destruction.  He invoked God’s blessing on dialogue and common commitment for justice and peace.