Pope Francis, speaking at an outdoor Mass in Kaunas, Lithuania, called for individuals and communities to accept painful aspects of their past and present and work actively and humbly to address them, neither avoiding those unpleasant realities nor laying the responsibility on others.
“Christian life always involves experiences of the cross,” the Holy Father said in a homily, referring to scars from the past that remain, like Lithuania’s painful and complex 20th-century history under totalitarian regimes, as well as modern-day hardships like those of the unemployed, migrants and the elderly or of “those young people who find no meaning in life.”
Jesus repeatedly told his disciples that following him would entail trials and grief, the Pope recalled. Some people, he said “would rather discuss who was better, who acted with greater integrity in the past. […] It is a fruitless and vain attitude.” But “no one can claim not to notice, no one can argue that it is ‘somebody else’s responsibility’,” he said.
The Holy Father called on people to be “a Church on the move, unafraid to go out and get involved,” “without anyone drawing attention to oneself, wanting to be applauded or singled out for praise,” and to ask Jesus to “heal our memory and accompany us in this present time.”
Pope Francis celebrated Mass for more than 100,000 people at Santakos Park during a visit to the Baltic country of Lithuania, which declared the reestablishment of its independence in 1990 after half a century under Soviet rule.
Papal Visit Organizing Committee of the Lithuanian Bishops’ Conference