Friday, 15 March 2013

Pope Francis' First Homily and Readings at Missa Pro Ecclesia

Missa Pro Ecclesia: (Latin, Italian, French)

Sistine Chapel
Thursday, 14 March 2013

In these three readings, I see a common element: that of movement. In the first reading, it is the movement of a journey; in the second reading, the movement of building the Church; in the third, in the Gospel, the movement involved in professing the faith. Journeying, building, professing.
Journeying. "O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord" (Is 2:5). This is the first thing that God said to Abraham: Walk in my presence and live blamelessly. Journeying: our life is a journey, and when we stop moving, things go wrong. Always journeying, in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live with the blamelessness that God asked of Abraham in his promise.
Building. Building the Church. We speak of stones: stones are solid; but living stones, stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. Building the Church, the Bride of Christ, on the cornerstone that is the Lord himself. This is another kind of movement in our lives: building.
Thirdly, professing. We can walk as much as we want, we can build many things, but if we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord. When we are not walking, we stop moving. When we are not building on the stones, what happens? The same thing that happens to children on the beach when they build sandcastles: everything is swept away, there is no solidity. When we do not profess Jesus Christ, the saying of Léon Bloy comes to mind: "Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil." When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil, a demonic worldliness.
Journeying, building, professing. But things are not so straightforward, because in journeying, building, professing, there can sometimes be jolts, movements that are not properly part of the journey: movements that pull us back.
This Gospel continues with a situation of a particular kind. The same Peter who professed Jesus Christ, now says to him: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the Cross. That has nothing to do with it. I will follow you on other terms, but without the Cross. When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly: we may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.
My wish is that all of us, after these days of grace, will have the courage, yes, the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward.
My prayer for all of us is that the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother, will grant us this grace: to walk, to build, to profess Jesus Christ crucified. Amen.

© Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Isaiah 2:2-5
 2 In later days, the mountain where the Lord dwells will be lifted high above the mountain-tops, looking down over the hills, and all nations will flock there together. 3 A multitude of peoples will make their way to it, crying, Come, let us climb up to the Lord’s mountain-peak, to the house where the God of Jacob dwells; he shall teach us the right way, we will walk in the paths he has chosen. The Lord’s commands shall go out from Sion, his word from Jerusalem, 4 and he will sit in judgement on the nations, giving his award to a multitude of peoples. They will melt down their swords into plough-shares, their spears into pruning-hooks, nation levying war against nation and training itself for battle no longer. 5 Come you too (they will say), children of Jacob, let us walk together in the path where the Lord shews us light.

Psalm 97
1 The Lord reigns as king; let earth be glad of it, let the isles, the many isles, rejoice! 2 See where he sits, clouds and darkness about him, justice and right the pillars of his throne; 3 see where he comes, fire sweeping on before him, burning up his enemies all around. 4 In the flash of his lightning, how shines the world revealed, how earth trembles at the sight! 5 The hills melt like wax at the presence of the Lord; his presence, whom all the earth obeys. 6 The very heavens proclaim his faithfulness; no nation but has sight of his glory. 7 Shame upon the men that worship carved images, and make their boast of false gods! him only all the powers of heaven, prostrate, adore.
8 Glad news for Sion, rejoicing for Juda’s townships, when thy judgements, Lord, are made known; 9 art thou not sovereign Lord of earth, beyond measure exalted above all gods? 10 They are the Lord’s friends, who were never friends to wrong; souls that are true to him he guards ever, rescues them from the power of evil-doers. 11 Dawn of hope for the innocent, dawn of gladness for honest hearts! 12 Rejoice and triumph, just souls, in the Lord, of his holy name publish everywhere the renown.

1 Peter 2:4-9
4 Draw near to him; he is the living antitype of that stone which men rejected, which God has chosen and prized; 5 you too must be built up on him, stones that live and breathe, into a spiritual fabric; you must be a holy priesthood, to offer up that spiritual sacrifice which God accepts through Jesus Christ. 6 So you will find in scripture the words, Behold, I am setting down in Sion a corner-stone, chosen out and precious; those who believe in him will not be disappointed.[3] 7 Prized, then, by you, the believers, he is something other to those who refuse belief; the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief stone at the corner,[4]8 a stone to trip men’s feet, a boulder they stumble against. They stumble over God’s word, and refuse it belief; it is their destiny.9 Not so you; you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people God means to have for himself; it is yours to proclaim the exploits of the God who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Matthew 16:13-19
13 Then Jesus came into the neighbourhood of Caesarea Philippi; and there he asked his disciples, What do men say of the Son of Man? Who do they think he is? 14 Some say John the Baptist, they told him, others Elias, others again, Jeremy or one of the prophets.15 Jesus said to them, And what of you? Who do you say that I am? 16 Then Simon Peter answered, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.[2] 17 And Jesus answered him, Blessed art thou, Simon son of Jona; it is not flesh and blood, it is my Father in heaven that has revealed this to thee. 18 And I tell thee this in my turn, that thou art Peter, and it is upon this rock that I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; 19 and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

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