Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

9/17/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We present the full text of Pope Benedict's Homily on Sunday in Beirut

The significance of the Holy Father's apostolic visit to Lebanon is very clear. Its impact will be felt in the months ahead. The courage demonstrated by his his visit, in the face of intense danger, as well as the content of his messages, are prophetic and historic. Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will the world over should pray that the message and the mission of this great Christian Leader, given in such an urgent hour in history, be heard and bear the fruit so desperately needed.

Pope Benedict XVI attends the St. Paul basilic in Beirut

Pope Benedict XVI attends the St. Paul basilic in Beirut

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/17/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Lebanon, Apostolic Visit, Pope, Pope Benedict, Beirut, Islam, Muslim, Christians in the Middle East, Church in the Middle East, Pope benedict XVI, Homily, Deacon Keith Fournier.


BEIRUT, Lebanon (Catholic Online) - While the world watched the dramatic events occurring in Egypt and throughout the Middle East at the end of the last week, the successor of the Apostle Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, traveled to Lebanon as a Messenger of peace. On the final day of his three day apostolic visit, he presided over the Holy Mass at the Beirut Waterfront.

Throughout this entire apostolic visit, this brave Pope spoke with both courage and compassion to massive crowds at every venue. He called all of the people of the Middle East to work together to build a culture of peace. He especially encouraged the Christians in these lands, who have suffered increasing hostilites and endured intense persecution, by reminding them that their presence in the Holy Land is ancient, vital - and that they have a right to be there.

However, he went beyond that, he encouraged all of them - and in a particular way the young - to stay in the Middle East, remain faithful and contribute to the solution as the escalating violence rages all around them. In short, he called them to heroic virtue and sacrifical service to the Lord.He called them to mission. 

During the three days, the Pope pointed repeatedly to the importance of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation which was released and signed upon his arrival. It is on the Communion and Witness of the Church in the Middle East.It can be read in its entirety here. Pope Benedict XVI emphasized his conviction that this Apostolic Exhortation, and its recommendations for the future, offers a framework for the vital work of peace which lies ahead but it will require the faithful, and all who desire peace, to work toward those goals. The significance of the Holy Father's apostolic visit to Lebanon is very clear. Its impact will be felt in the months ahead.

The courage demonstrated by his his visit, in the face of intense danger, as well as the content of his messages, are prophetic and historic. Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will the world over should pray that the message and the mission of this great Christian Leader, given in such an urgent hour in history, be heard and bear the fruit so desperately needed. Below we present the full text of Pope Benedict's Homily on Sunday in Beirut:

*****

Sunday 16 September 2012, Homilu

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!" (Eph 1:3). Blessed be God on this day when I have the joy of being here with you, in Lebanon, to consign to the Bishops of the region my Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente! I offer heartfelt thanks to His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Raď for his kind words of welcome. I greet the other Patriarchs and Bishops of the Eastern Churches, the Latin Bishops of the neighbouring regions, and the Cardinals and Bishops who have come from other countries.

I greet all of you with great affection, dear brothers and sisters from Lebanon and from throughout this beloved region of the Middle East, as you join with the Successor of Peter in celebrating Jesus Christ crucified, dead and risen. My respectful greeting goes also to the President of the Republic, to the Lebanese authorities, and to the leaders and followers of the other religious traditions who have elected to be present this morning.

On this Sunday when the Gospel asks us about the true identity of Jesus, we find ourselves transported with the disciples to the road leading to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. Jesus asks them: "Who do you say that I am?" (Mk 8:29). The moment he chose to ask this question is not insignificant. Jesus was facing a decisive turning-point in his life.

He was going up to Jerusalem, to the place where the central events of our salvation would take place: his crucifixion and resurrection. In Jerusalem too, following these events, the Church would be born. And at this decisive moment, Jesus first asks his disciples: "Who do men say that I am?" (Mk 8:27). They give very different answers: John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets!

Today, as down the centuries, those who encounter Jesus along their own way give their own answers. These are approaches which can be helpful in finding the way to truth. But while not necessarily false, they remain insufficient, for they do not go to the heart of who Jesus is. Only those willing to follow him on his path, to live in fellowship with him in the community of his disciples, can truly know who he is. Finally, Peter, who had dwelt with Jesus for some time, gives his answer: "You are the Christ" (Mk 8:29).

It is the right answer, of course, but it is still not enough, since Jesus feels the need to clarify it. He realizes that people could use this answer to advance agendas which are not his, to raise false temporal hopes in his regard. He does not let himself be confined to the attributes of the human saviour which many were expecting.

By telling his disciples that he must suffer and be put to death, and then rise again, Jesus wants to make them understand his true identity. He is a Messiah who suffers, a Messiah who serves, and not some triumphant political saviour. He is the Servant who obeys his Father's will, even to giving up his life. This had already been foretold by the prophet Isaiah in today's first reading.

Jesus thus contradicts the expectations of many. What he says is shocking and disturbing. We can understand the reaction of Peter who rebukes him, refusing to accept that his Master should suffer and die! Jesus is stern with Peter; he makes him realize that anyone who would be his disciple must become a servant, just as he became Servant.

Following Jesus means taking up one's cross and walking in his footsteps, along a difficult path which leads not to earthly power or glory but, if necessary, to self-abandonment, to losing one's life for Christ and the Gospel in order to save it. We are assured that this is the way to the resurrection, to true and definitive life with God. Choosing to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who made himself the Servant of all, requires drawing ever closer to him, attentively listening to his word and drawing from it the inspiration for all that we do.

In promulgating the Year of Faith, which is due to begin next 11 October, I wanted each member of the faithful to renew his or her commitment to undertaking this path of sincere conversion. Throughout this Year, then, I strongly encourage you to reflect more deeply on the faith, to appropriate it ever more consciously and to grow in fidelity to Christ Jesus and his Gospel.

Brothers and sisters, the path on which Jesus wishes to guide us is a path of hope for all. Jesus' glory was revealed at the very time when, in his humanity, he seemed weakest, particularly through the incarnation and on the cross. This is how God shows his love; he becomes our servant and gives himself to us. Is this not an amazing mystery, one which is at times difficult to accept? The Apostle Peter himself would only come to understand it later.

In today's second reading, Saint James tells us to what extent our walking in the footsteps of Jesus, if it is to be authentic, demands concrete actions. "I, by my works, will show you my faith" (Jas 2:18). It is an imperative task of the Church to serve and of Christians to be true servants in the image of Jesus. Service is a foundational element of the identity of Christ's followers (cf. Jn 13:15-17). The vocation of the Church and of each Christian is to serve others, as the Lord himself did, freely and impartially.

Consequently, in a world where violence constantly leaves behind its grim trail of death and destruction, to serve justice and peace is urgently necessary for building a fraternal society, for building fellowship! Dear brothers and sisters, I pray in particular that the Lord will grant to this region of the Middle East servants of peace and reconciliation, so that all people can live in peace and with dignity. This is an essential testimony which Christians must render here, in cooperation with all people of good will. I appeal to all of you to be peacemakers, wherever you find yourselves.

Service must also be at the heart of the life of the Christian community itself. Every ministry, every position of responsibility in the Church, is first and foremost a service to God and to our brothers and sisters. This is the spirit which should guide the baptized among themselves, and find particular expression in an effective commitment to serving the poor, the outcast and the suffering, so that the inalienable dignity of each person may be safeguarded.

Dear brothers and sisters who are suffering physically or spiritually, your sufferings are not in vain! Christ the Servant wished to be close to the suffering. He is always close to you. Along your own path, may you always find brothers and sisters who are concrete signs of his loving presence which will never forsake you! Remain ever hopeful because of Christ!

And may all of you, my brothers and sisters who have come to take part in this celebration, strive to be ever more fully conformed to the Lord Jesus, who became the Servant of all for the life of the world. May God bless Lebanon; may he bless all the peoples of this beloved region of the Middle East, and may he grant them the gift of his peace. Amen.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Middle East

Ancient water line: 2,000-year-old water supply system uncovered in Jerusalem Watch

Image of The Lower Aqueduct for nearly 2,000 years remained one of Jerusalem's principal sources of water, which is why city rulers kept the structure so well preserved.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It appears the Biblical times had a much more complex infrastructure than previously believed. An ancient aqueduct built more than 2,000 years ago to transport water into the city of Jerusalem was uncovered during a construction project. The level of ... continue reading


ISIS' horrific sexual crimes against Yazidi women unveiled

Image of ISIS militants execute horrific sexual acts on kidnapped women.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New reports from the United Nations exposes ISIS' horrific sex crimes against women and girls. Women and young girls kidnapped by the terrorist extremists are often sold off to the fighters, and if they do not abide, they are brutally punished. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


HERITAGE OF HATE: Osama bin Laden called for bombers to kill Americans for 'alien satanic practices' Watch

Image of Osama bin Laden, the dreaded terrorist leader behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks left behind convoluted, hate-mongering documents before his death at the hands of U.S. agents in May of 2011.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Osama bin Laden, the dreaded terrorist leader behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks left behind convoluted, hate-mongering documents before his death at the hands of U.S. agents in May of 2011. Among the papers found in his compound is a 15-page document that urges ... continue reading


ISIS MAY DETONATE NUKE IN THE U.S. - NEW NUCLEAR THREAT: Islamic State claims it will buy nuclear weapon from Pakistan, smuggle it into the United States Watch

Image of Nuclear Explosion

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Terror group Islamic State now claims they're now infinitely closer to buying a nuclear weapon from Pakistan to smuggle into the United States. As published in their propaganda magazine Dabiq, in an article reportedly by a hostage journalist, The scenario is ... continue reading


Wholesale slaughter of Palmyra residents begins as Islamic State invades Watch

Image of Will this marble altar depicting the Goddess Allat with a lion from the Temple of Baal Shamin in Palmyra be destroyed by ISIS jihadists?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Shocking images have emerged of decapitated bodies strewn across blood-filled streets in Palmyra While the world worries that the Islamic State will destroy the cities many priceless historical treasures, the wholesale slaughter of Palmyra's citizens has begun. ... continue reading


OOPS! Comment riles Iran, threatened to rain down '80,000 missles on Tel Aviv and Haifa' Watch

Image of The misquote was most likely based on Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's comments from the May 5 Shurat Hadin conference.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon made a comment recently that was taken out of context. The comment was so misunderstood that it prompted war talk from Iran. While the war talk was mostly bluster, Iran obviously took the comment seriously as Iran's United ... continue reading


Foreign Legion: 17,000 men and women from more than 90 countries wage Muslim holy war for ISIS Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State continues to round up and recruit foreign fighters to join their "Muslim holy war." During the past three and a half years, ISIS has gained between 16,000 and 17,000 men and women from 90 countries, according to The Jakarata Post. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Catacombs becomes popular as graveyard space in Jerusalem grows scarce Watch

Image of The first phase of construction includes 22,000 crypts, arranged floor to ceiling in three tiers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many of the Jewish faith yearn to be interred in the Holy Land. Jerusalem, however, is running out of graveyard space. To meet this growing demand, plans are in the works for a new, massive necropolis - located deep underground. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Islamic State seizes control of Palmyra Watch

Image of The capture of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, one monitoring group said, now gives ISIS control of half the country.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Islamic State extremists have seized full control of the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra. Syrian Government defense lines collapsed there earlier this week. It is not yet known how close to the famed archaeological site the extremists advanced, activists said. ... continue reading


Extreme female terrorist 'White Widow' commands army of 200 female jihadist spies Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The so-called "White Widow" is now reported as commanding an army of around 200 female jihadists who pose as normal citizens and workers, like shop owners and hotel receptionists, and gather classified information for the leaders of the Al-Shabaab, according to ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 42:15-25
15 Next, I shall remind you of the works of the Lord, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
2 Give thanks to Yahweh on the lyre, play for him on ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:46-52
46 They reached Jericho; and as he left Jericho with ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 28th, 2015 Image

Bl. Margaret Pole
May 28: Martyr of England. She was born Margaret Plantagenet, the niece ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter