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Pope's Homily at Oct. 15 Canonization Mass

10/30/2006 - 6:00 AM PST

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"Their Only Treasure Is in Heaven: It Is God"

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 30, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a Vatican translation of the homily Benedict XVI delivered Oct. 15 during the Eucharistic concelebration for four newly canonized saints: Rafael Guízar Valencia, Filippo Smaldone, Rosa Venerini and Théodore Guérin.

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EUCHARISTIC CONCELEBRATION FOR THE CANONIZATION OF FOUR NEW SAINTS

RAFAEL GUÍZAR VALENCIA (1878-1938)
FILIPPO SMALDONE (1848-1923)
ROSA VENERINI (1656-1728)
THÉODORE GUÉRIN (1798-1856)

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

St Peter's Square
Sunday, 15 October 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Four new Saints are proposed today for the veneration of the universal Church: Rafael Guízar y Valencia, Filippo Smaldone, Rose Venerini and Théodore Guérin. Their names will be remembered for ever.

In contrast to this immediately comes the thought of the "rich young man" of whom the Gospel, just proclaimed, speaks. This youth has remained anonymous; if he had responded positively to the invitation of Jesus, he would have become his disciple and probably the Evangelist would have recorded his name.

From this fact one can immediately glimpse the theme of this Sunday's Liturgy of the Word: if man puts his trust in the riches of this world, he will not reach the full sense of life and of true joy.

If instead, trusting the Word of God, he renounces himself and his goods for the Kingdom of Heaven, apparently losing much, he in reality gains all.

The Saint is exactly that man, that woman, who, responding with joy and generosity to Christ's call, leaves everything to follow him. Like Peter and the other Apostles, as St Teresa of Jesus today reminds us as well as countless other friends of God, the new Saints have also run this demanding yet fulfilling Gospel itinerary and have already received "a hundred fold" in this life, together with trials and persecutions, and then eternal life.

Jesus, therefore, can truly guarantee a happy existence and eternal life, but by a route different from what the rich young man imagines: that is, not through a good work, a legal tribute, but rather in the choice of the Kingdom of God as the "precious pearl" for which it is worth selling all that one possesses (cf. Mt 13:45-46).

The rich youth is not able to take this step. Notwithstanding that he has been the object of the loving gaze of Jesus (cf. Mk 10:21), his heart is not able to detach itself from the many goods that he possessed.

Thus comes the teaching for the disciples: "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the Kingdom of God!" (Mk 10:23).

Earthly riches occupy and preoccupy the mind and the heart. Jesus does not say they are bad, but that they distance one from God if they are not, so to speak, "invested" for the Kingdom of Heaven, spent, that is, to come to the help of those who are poor.

Understanding this is the fruit of that wisdom of which the First Reading speaks. As we were told, she is more precious than silver or gold, and more beautiful, healthy and full of light, "because her radiance never ceases" (Wis 7:10).

Obviously, this wisdom cannot be reduced merely to an intellectual dimension. It is much more; it is "the Wisdom of the heart", as it is called in Psalm 89. It is a gift from on high (cf. Jas 3:17), from God, and is obtained by prayer (cf. Wis 7:7).

In fact, it has not remained distant from man; it has come close to his heart (cf. Dt 30:14), taking form in the law of the First Covenant between God and Israel through Moses.

The Wisdom of God is contained in the Decalogue. This is why Jesus affirms in the Gospel that to "enter into life" it is necessary to observe the commandments (cf. Mk 10:19). It is necessary, but not sufficient!

In fact, as St Paul says, salvation does not come from the law, but from Grace. And St John recalls that the law was given by Moses, while Grace and Truth come by means of Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 1:17).

To reach salvation one must therefore be open in faith to the grace of Christ, who, however, when addressed, places a demanding condition: "Come, follow me" (Mk 10:21).

The Saints have had the humility and the courage to respond "yes", and they have renounced all to be his friends.

The four new Saints who we particularly venerate today have done likewise. In them we find the experience of Peter actualized: "Lo, we have left everything and followed you" (Mk 10:28). Their only treasure is in heaven: it is God.

The Gospel that we have heard helps us to understand the figure of St Rafael Guízar y Valencia, Bishop of Vera Cruz in the beloved Mexican Nation, as an example of one who has left all to "follow Jesus".

This Saint was faithful to the divine Word, "living and ...

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