St Peter's Square
While we are about to end this solemn celebration, I would like to address a cordial greeting to all of you who have wished to come in person to pay homage to the new Saints. I first of all express gratitude to the Delegation of the Italian Government and to the other civil authorities, particularly the Mayors and Prefects of the cities of four of their fellow citizens, raised today to the honours of the altar. I greet the Delegation of the Order of Malta. With great affection I thank the numerous pilgrims from many other parts of Italy. I hope that this pilgrimage, lived in the sign of holiness and enhanced by the grace of the Pauline Year, may help each one "to run" with greater joy and more dynamism toward the final "goal", toward the "prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (cf. Philippians 3: 13-14).
In this context I am also pleased to mention the Day of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, being celebrated today. Fifty years after the death of Fr Agostino Gemelli, its Founder, I hope that the Catholic University will always be faithful to the principles which inspired it in order to continue to offer an effective formation to the young generations.
I address my grateful and respectful greeting to the official Delegation of Portugal and to the Bishops who have come for the canonization of Friar Nuno de Santa Maria, with all their compatriots who cherish in their hearts the witness of the "Constable Saint", as the poor people of his time called him, seeing his sense of compassion and the deprivation of one who gave all his possessions to the neediest. Thus he gave us a noble lesson of renunciation and sharing, without which it would be impossible to attain that brotherly equality that is a feature of modern society which recognizes and treats all as members of one and the same human family. I greet in particular the Carmelites, to whom this believing soldier one day turned his gaze and heart, seeing in them the habit of the Most Holy Virgin which he was later to embrace. As I pray for an abundance of heavenly gifts for all the pilgrims and followers of St Nuno, I leave you this appeal: "Consider the outcome of his life, and imitate his faith" (cf. Hebrews 13: 7).
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims who are here with us today, especially those who have travelled to Rome to be present at the canonization of today's new Saints. Through their intercession, may all of you be filled with joy in the Risen Lord, and bear witness to him courageously in your daily lives. I invoke God's abundant Blessings upon all of you, and upon your families and loved ones at home.
I am glad to welcome you, dear French-speaking pilgrims. The Resurrection of the Lord has filled our hearts with light. May the example of the new Saints canonized today obtain that we may not be afraid to reach out to our brothers and sisters to transmit the word of Life throughout the world. May the Saints, together with the Virgin Mary, guide and sustain you in your daily life! In continuity with the disciples of Emmaus, be in turn witnesses of the Risen Christ. God bless you!
I address a cordial Grüss Gott to the German-speaking pilgrims. In particular, I greet today the Capitoline Student Union. May the new Saints help us in contemplating the saving work of Christ: Nuno Álvares Pereira shows us the divine Child in the arms of the Virgin, his Mother; Arcangelo Tadini leads us to the Holy Family of Nazareth, Bernardo Tolomei reminds us of the event of Ölberg, Geltrude Comensoli observes the mystery of the Eucharist, Caterina Volpicelli points to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus in which the mysterious love of God is visible. This Saint desires to bring us close to God and also to man. May the Lord bless you and accompany you on all your ways!
I greet with affection the Spanish-speaking faithful present at this celebration. May Christ the Good Shepherd strengthen within us joy at having recovered, through his Resurrection, our adoption as sons, and fill us with hope on our way towards Eternal Life. Let us entrust this intention to the motherly protection of the Virgin Mary Most Holy and to the intercession of the five new Saints whom I have held up today for the veneration of the Universal Church. A Happy Easter and a happy Sunday!
I cordially greet the Poles. Under the patronage of the Bible Society called after John Paul II, the Church in Poland is celebrating Bible Sunday and Bible Week today for the first time. I warmly bless all those who are deepening their knowledge of the word of God. Through the intercession of the new Saints, I implore for everyone the gift of Divine Wisdom. I wish you a good Sunday and abundant fruit from this special week.
Let us now raise our filial prayer to the Virgin Mary who fully observed the word of God, so that in her his love was truly perfect (cf. 1 John 2: 5a): Regina Caeli....
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today, the Third Sunday of Easter, in the Gospel according to Luke we meet the Risen Jesus who presents himself to the disciples (cf. Luke 24:36) who, startled and incredulous, think they are seeing a ghost (cf. Luke 24:37). Romano Guardini wrote: “the Lord has changed. He does not live as he lived previously. His existence cannot be understood. And yet it is corporeal, it encompasses... the whole of the life he lived, the destiny he passed through, his Passion and his death. Everything is reality. It may have changed but it is still tangible reality” (Il Signore. Meditazioni sulla persona e la vita di N.S. Gesù Cristo, Milan 1949, 433). As the Resurrection did not erase the signs of the Crucifixion, Jesus showed the Apostles his hands and his feet. And to convince them, he even asked for something to eat, thus the disciples “gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them” (Luke 24:42-43). St Gregory the Great comments that “the fish grilled on the flame means nothing other than the Passion of Jesus, Mediator between God and men. Indeed, he deigned to conceal himself in the waters of the human race, he accepted to be caught in the net of our death and was placed on the fire, symbolizing the pain he suffered at the moment of the Passion” (Hom. in Evang. XXIV, 5: CCL l 141, Turnhout 1999, 201).
It was by means of these very realistic signs that the disciples overcame their initial doubt and opened themselves to the gift of faith; and this faith enabled them to understand what was written on Christ “in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms (Luke 24:44). Indeed we read that Jesus “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.... You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:45-48).
The Saviour assures us of his real presence among us through the Word and through the Eucharist. Therefore just as the disciples of Emmaus recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread (cf. Luke 24:35), so we too encounter the Lord in the Eucharistic celebration. In this regard St Thomas Aquinas explains that “it is absolutely necessary to confess according to the Catholic faith that the entire Christ is in this sacrament... since the Godhead never set aside the assumed body” (Summa Theologiae III, q. 76, a. 1).
Dear friends, it is usual in the Easter season for the Church to administer First Communion to children. I therefore urge parish priests, parents and catechists to prepare well for this feast of faith with great fervour, but also with moderation. “This day continues to be memorable as the moment when... they first came to understand the importance of a personal encounter with Jesus” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 19). May the Mother of God help us to listen attentively to the Word of the Lord and to take part worthily in the Banquet of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, to become witnesses of the new humanity.
After the Regina Caeli:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I am glad to recall the Beatification of María Inés Teresa of the Blessed Sacrament yesterday in Mexico. She was the Foundress of the Poor Clare Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Let us give thanks to God for this exemplary daughter of Mexico, which I recently had the joy of visiting and which I always carry in my heart.
The Day of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart is being celebrated today in Italy. This year the theme of the Day is “The Future of the Country in Young People’s Hearts”. It is important that youth be formed in values, as well as in scientific and technical knowledge. It was for this reason that Fr Gemelli founded the Catholic University, which I hope will always keep in step with the times but also remain ever faithful to its origins.
I am pleased to greet all the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims present for this Easter prayer to Our Lady. In today’s Gospel, the Risen Lord opens the minds of the disciples to the meaning of his suffering and death, and sends them out to preach repentance. With courage and joy, may we too be authentic witnesses to Christ. God bless all of you!
I wish you all a good Sunday and a good week. Thank you.
Saint Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning,
In the Bible Readings of today’s liturgy the word “witnesses” is mentioned twice. The first time it is on the lips of Peter who, after the healing of the paralytic at the Door of the Temple of Jerusalem, exclaims: You “killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses” (Acts 3:15). The second time it is on the lips of the Risen Jesus. On the evening of Easter he opens the minds of the disciples to the mystery of his death and Resurrection, saying to them: “You are witnesses to these things” (Luke 24:48). The Apostles, who saw the Risen Christ with their own eyes, could not keep silent about their extraordinary experience. He had shown himself to them so that the truth of his Resurrection would reach everyone by way of their witness. The Church has the duty to continue this mission over time. Every baptized person is called to bear witness, with their life and words, that Jesus is Risen, that Jesus is alive and present among us. We are all called to testify that Jesus is alive.
We may ask ourselves: who is a witness? A witness is a person who has seen, who recalls and tells. See, recall and tell: these are three verbs which describe the identity and mission. A witness is a person who has seen with an objective eye, has seen reality, but not with an indifferent eye; he has seen and has let himself become involved in the event. For this reason, one recalls, not only because she knows how to reconstruct the events exactly but also because those facts spoke to her and she grasped their profound meaning. Then a witness tells, not in a cold and detached way but as one who has allowed himself to be called into question and from that day changed the way of life. A witness is someone who has changed his or her life.
The content of Christian witness is not a theory, it’s not an ideology or a complex system of precepts and prohibitions or a moralist theory, but a message of salvation, a real event, rather a Person: it is the Risen Christ, the living and only Saviour of all. He can be testified to by those who have personal experience of Him, in prayer and in the Church, through a journey that has its foundation in Baptism, its nourishment in the Eucharist, its seal in Confirmation, its continual conversion in Penitence. Thanks to this journey, ever guided by the Word of God, every Christian can become a witness of the Risen Jesus. And his/her witness is all the more credible, the more it shines through a life lived by the Gospel, a joyful, courageous, gentle peaceful, merciful life. Instead, if a Christian gives in to ease, vanity, selfishness, if he or she becomes deaf and blind to the question of “resurrection” of many brothers and sisters, how can he/she communicate the living Jesus, how can the Christian communicate the freeing power of the living Jesus and his infinite tenderness?
May Mary our Mother sustain us by her intercession, that we might become, with all our limitations but by the grace of faith, witnesses of the Risen Lord, bringing the Paschal gifts of joy and peace to the people we encounter.
After the Regina Caeli:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In these hours news has been coming in of another tragedy in the Mediterranean. A boat full of migrants capsized last night about 60 miles off the Libyan coast and hundreds are feared dead. I express my deepest sorrow in the face of this tragedy and I assure my thoughts and prayers to those still missing and to their families. I address an urgent appeal that the international community will act with decision and promptness to avoid any similar tragedy from happening again. These are men and women like us, our brothers and sisters seeking a better life, starving, persecuted, wounded exploited, victims of war; they are seeking a better life. They were seeking happiness.... I invite you to pray in silence, first, and then all together for these brothers and sisters.
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Today in Turin the solemn exposition of the Holy Shroud begins. I too, God willing, will go there this 21 June. I hope that this act of veneration may help us all to find in Jesus Christ the Merciful Face of God, and to recognize it also in the faces of our brothers and sisters, especially those suffering most.
Please, do not forget to pray for me. I wish everyone a good Sunday and a good lunch.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Saint Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I, so that they could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
5 July 2015, 12:00 SGT
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