A memorial mass for Benedict XVI, cardinals and bishops who died nearly a year ago was held in St. Peter’s Basilica and was presided over by Pope Francis. In his homily at the Mass, the Pope emphasized mercy and humility, pointing out that humble people allow us to understand that “the smallest is loved by the Lord and is the way to the Kingdom of Heaven.”
(Vatican News Network)Pope Francis presided over a memorial mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on the morning of November 3 to commemorate Benedict XVI, 6 cardinals and 147 bishops who died in the past year. In his homily at the Mass, the Pope emphasized the mercy and humility of God, “who gives us his life that conquers death.”
The Gospel of the day tells the story of Jesus resurrecting the only son of a widow from the city of Nain (see: Luke 7:11-17). Seeing a funeral procession for “his mother’s only son,” Jesus was “moved with pity.” Reflecting on this scene, the Pope referred to a sentence from Benedict XVI’s first encyclical, God Am Love: “The outline of Jesus is to have ‘a heart that sees'” (No. 31). b)
The Pope pointed out that Benedict XVI reminded us many times that “faith is not first of all a concept that needs to be understood or a morality that needs to be practiced. Faith is a person that needs to be encountered, Jesus Christ.” The Pope explained that when Jesus saw the suffering of the widow of Nain, he stopped, laid his hands on the coffin of the deceased and raised her to life. Jesus’ divinity “shines brightly in contact with our suffering because his heart is compassionate.”
The Pope stressed that it is important to “turn a look of compassion on those who are suffering from the death of their loved ones.” In His mercy, Jesus bridged the distance and came closer to the woman who had lost her son. “This is the style of God, closeness, mercy and tenderness. Not many words. Jesus did not preach about death, but only said one word to the mother: ‘Stop crying!'”
“Why? Is it wrong to cry? No, Jesus himself cried in the Gospel account. But He said to the mother, ‘Stop crying’, because because of the Lord, tears will not flow forever. The end. He is the God who, as Scripture foretold, will ‘abort death forever’ and ‘wipe tears from every face’ (Is 25:8; cf. Revelation 21:4). He brings us and consider the tears as our own, so that we may no longer shed tears.”
Then, the Pope mentioned that in this passage of the Gospel of Luke, the protagonists are an only son and a widow. They and the foreigners mentioned in the Bible are the most lonely and abandoned people. “Apart from God, They can’t trust anyone.” Therefore, “widows, orphans, and strangers” are “the closest and most beloved of the Lord.”
The Pope pointed out that we must learn from the humility of these people, who put all their hopes in God instead of themselves; they have God as the center of their lives. Not relying on their own strength, “but His care for them”, acknowledging that they are “people in need of God”, they let us understand that “little things are loved by the Lord and are the way to the kingdom of heaven”.
“God seeks humble people who place their hope in the Lord rather than in themselves and their own plans. Brothers and sisters, this is Christian humility: it is not one of the other virtues, but a fundamental attitude in life: To believe that you are in need of God, to make room for God, to place all your trust in Him. This is Christian humility.”
The Pope went on to say that God loves humility “because it enables Him to interact with us.” God loves humility because He Himself is humility. The Lord comes among us, humbles himself, does not force others, but leaves room.
“God loves those who are not themselves the center, loves those who are not the center of everything. He loves the humble: they are more like him than anyone else. That is why, as Jesus said: ‘Everyone is He who humbles himself will be exalted.’ (Luke 14:11) I like to recall the original words of Pope Benedict: ‘Humble workers in the vineyard of the Lord.’ Yes, Christians, especially the Pope , cardinals and bishops, are all invited to be humble workers: to serve and not to be served; to think of the fruit of the Lord’s vineyard before thinking of the fruit of your own. How wonderful it is to deny yourself for the Church of Jesus!”
Finally, the Pope invited everyone to pray for the cardinals and bishops who died in the past year, saying that they had a “pastoral, compassionate and humble heart, because the meaning of their lives was the Lord.”
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