Benedict XVI's March 26 Homily at Roman Parish
fascination of this Rabbi, so different from the others, but could not manage to rid himself of the conditioning of his environment that was hostile to Jesus, and stood irresolute on the threshold of faith.
How many people also in our time are in search of God, in search of Jesus and of his Church, in search of divine mercy, and are waiting for a "sign" that will touch their minds and their hearts! Today, as then, the Evangelist reminds us that the only "sign" is Jesus raised on the cross: Jesus who died and rose is the absolutely sufficient sign. Through him we can understand the truth about life and obtain salvation.
This is the principal proclamation of the Church, which remains unchanged down the ages. The Christian faith, therefore, is not an ideology but a personal encounter with the Crucified and Risen Christ. From this experience, both individual and communitarian, flows a new way of thinking and acting: an existence marked by love is born, as the saints testify.
Dear friends, this mystery is particularly eloquent in your parish, dedicated to "God, the Merciful Father." It was desired, as we well know, by my beloved predecessor John Paul II in memory of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, to effectively condense that extraordinary spiritual event.
In meditating on the Lord's mercy that was revealed totally and definitively in the mystery of the cross, the text that John Paul II had prepared for his meeting with the faithful on April 3, Sunday "in Albis," the Second Sunday of Easter last year, comes to my mind.
In the divine plans it was written that he would leave us precisely on the eve of that day, Saturday, April 2 -- we all remember it well -- and for that reason he was unable to address his words to you. I would like to address them to you now, dear brothers and sisters. "To humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, the Risen Lord offers his love that pardons, reconciles and reopens hearts to hope. It is a love that converts hearts and gives peace."
The Pope, in this last text which is like a testament, then added: "How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy!" (Regina Caeli reflection, read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute of the Secretariat of State, to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, April 3, 2005; L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, April 6, p. 1, n. 2).
To understand and accept God's merciful love: May this be your commitment, first of all in your families and then in every neighborhood milieu. I hope for this with all my heart as I offer you my cordial greeting, starting with the priests who care for your community under the guidance of the parish priest, Father Gianfranco Corbino, to whom I offer sincere thanks for having interpreted your sentiments in a beautiful presentation of this building, this "barque" of Peter and of the Lord.
I next extend my greeting to the cardinal vicar, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, and to Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the titular of your church, to the vice gerent and the bishop of the Eastern sector of Rome and to all those who cooperate actively in the various parish services.
I know that yours is a young community, barely 10 years old, which spent its early days in precarious conditions while waiting for the completion of its current structures. I also know that rather than discouraging you, the initial problems impelled you to unanimous apostolic work with special attention to the area of catechesis, the liturgy and charity.
Continue, dear friends, on the path on which you have set out, striving to make your parish a true family in which fidelity to the Word of God and the Church's Tradition may become, day after day, more and more your rule of life.
I know, moreover, that because of its original architectural structure, your church attracts many visitors. Make them appreciate not only the particular beauty of this sacred building, but especially the riches of a lively community, eager to witness to the love of God, the merciful Father. That love is the true secret of Christian joy to which today, Laetare Sunday, invites us.
As we turn our gaze to Mary, "Mother of holy joy," let us ask her to help us deepen the reasons for our faith, so that, as today's liturgy urges us, renewed in the spirit and with a joyful heart, we may respond to the eternal and boundless love of God. Amen!
© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana [adapted]
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000
Pope, Benedict, Homily, God, Rome
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