After the Angelus, the Pope said:
I greet the pilgrims who have come from Murska Sabota and Stranice in Slovenia! God be with you!
I greet the pilgrims present here. In particular, the faithful from the Parishes of Our Lady of the Most Holy Sacrament and of the Holy Canadian Martyrs in Rome, as well as the groups from some Sicilian Dioceses and those from the Diocese of Anagni.
I wish you all a good Sunday!
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Blessed Pope John Paul II, so that they could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
St Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Spiritual Exercises, which brought the Pope and his collaborators of the Roman Curia together in prayer and meditation as they do every year, ended here in the Apostolic Palace yesterday. I thank all those who have been spiritually close to us; may the Lord reward them for their generosity. Today, the Second Sunday of Lent, as we continue on the penitential journey, the liturgy invites us, after presenting the Gospel of Jesus' temptations in the desert last week, to reflect on the extraordinary event of the Transfiguration on the mountain. Considered together, these episodes anticipate the Paschal Mystery: Jesus' struggle with the tempter preludes the great final duel of the Passion, while the light of his transfigured Body anticipates the glory of the Resurrection. On the one hand, we see Jesus, fully man, sharing with us even temptation; on the other, we contemplate him as the Son of God who divinizes our humanity. Thus, we could say that these two Sundays serve as pillars on which to build the entire structure of Lent until Easter, and indeed, the entire structure of Christian life, which consists essentially in paschal dynamism: from death to life.
The mountain - Mount Tabor, like Sinai - is the place of nearness to God. Compared with daily life it is the lofty space in which to breathe the pure air of creation. It is the place of prayer in which to stand in the Lord's presence like Moses and Elijah, who appeared beside the transfigured Jesus and spoke to him of the "exodus" that awaited him in Jerusalem, that is, his Pasch. The Transfiguration is a prayer event: in praying, Jesus is immersed in God, closely united to him, adhering with his own human will to the loving will of the Father, and thus light invades him and appears visibly as the truth of his being: he is God, Light of Light. Even Jesus' raiment becomes dazzling white. This is reminiscent of the white garment worn by neophytes. Those who are reborn in Baptism are clothed in light, anticipating heavenly existence (cf. Revelations 7: 9, 13). This is the crucial point: the Transfiguration is an anticipation of the Resurrection, but this presupposes death. Jesus expresses his glory to the Apostles so that they may have the strength to face the scandal of the Cross and understand that it is necessary to pass through many tribulations in order to reach the Kingdom of God. The Father's voice, which resounds from on high, proclaims Jesus his beloved Son as he did at the Baptism in the Jordan, adding: "Listen to him" (Matthew 17: 5). To enter eternal life requires listening to Jesus, following him on the way of the Cross, carrying in our heart like him the hope of the Resurrection. "Spe salvi", saved in hope. Today we can say: "Transfigured in hope".
Turning now in prayer to Mary, let us recognize in her the human creature transfigured within by Christ's grace and entrust ourselves to her guidance, to walk joyfully on our path through Lent.
After the Angelus:
I am following with concern the persistent manifestations of tension in Lebanon. For almost three months the Country has not managed to choose a Head of State. Although they have not yet produced a result, the efforts to settle the crisis and the support offered by numerous exponents of relief by the International Community demonstrate the intention to identify a President who would be such for all the Lebanese and thus lay the foundations for overcoming existing divisions.
Unfortunately, causes for concern are not lacking, due above all to an unusual verbal violence or even to those who place their trust in the force of arms and the physical elimination of their adversaries.
Together with the Maronite Patriarch and all the Lebanese Bishops, I ask you to join in my entreaty to Our Lady of Lebanon, so that she will encourage the citizens of that beloved Nation and in particular its politicians to work tenaciously for reconciliation, for a truly sincere dialogue, for peaceful coexistence and for the good of a Homeland felt deeply to belong to all.
I greet all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Angelus, especially the group of pilgrims from Saint Ansgar’s Cathedral in Copenhagen. I pray that your visit to Rome may strengthen your faith and deepen your love for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. In this Sunday’s Gospel, we hear how Jesus was transfigured in the presence of his three closest followers, Peter, James and John. They were granted a glimpse of Christ in glory, and they heard the voice of the Father urging them to listen to his beloved Son. As we continue our Lenten journey, we renew our resolve to listen attentively to the Son of God, and we draw comfort and hope from the revelation of his glory. Upon all of you here today, and upon your families and loved ones at home, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.
I wish everyone a good Sunday!
MASS AND DEDICATION
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
Sunday, 20 March 2011
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am very pleased to be with you to celebrate an event as important as the Dedication to God and to the service of the community of this church called after St Corbinian. Providence has ordained that our meeting take place on the Second Sunday of Lent, distinguished by the Gospel of the Transfiguration of Jesus.
Today, we therefore have the juxtaposition of two elements, both of which are very important: on the one hand, the mystery of the Transfiguration, and on the other, that of the temple, that is, of God’s house amidst your houses. The Bible Readings we have heard were chosen to illustrate these two aspects.
The Transfiguration. The Evangelist Matthew has told us what happened when Jesus, taking with him three of his disciples — Peter, James and John — climbed a high mountain. While they were up there, on their own, Jesus’ face, and likewise his garments, became radiant. This is what we call “Transfiguration”: a luminous, comforting mystery. What is its meaning? The Transfiguration is a revelation of the Person of Jesus, of his profound reality.
In fact, the eye witnesses of the event, that is, the three Apostles, were enfolded in a cloud, also bright — which in the Bible always heralds God’s presence — and they heard a voice saying: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5). This event prepared the disciples for the Paschal Mystery of Jesus: to endure the terrible trial of the Passion and also to understand properly the luminous event of the Resurrection.
The narrative also speaks of Moses and Elijah who appear and talk with Jesus. Actually, this episode is related to another two divine revelations. Moses climbed Mount Sinai and there received God’s revelation. He asked God to show him his glory but God answered Moses that he would not see his face but only his back (cf. Exodus 33:18-23)
God made a similar revelation to Elijah on the mountain: a more intimate manifestation, not accompanied by a storm, an earthquake or by fire, but by a gentle breeze (cf. 1 Kings 19:11-13).
Unlike these two episodes, in the Transfiguration it is not Jesus who receives the revelation of God; rather, it is precisely in Jesus that God reveals himself and reveals his face to the Apostles. Thus, those who wish to know God must contemplate the face of Jesus, his face transfigured: Jesus is the perfect revelation of the Father’s holiness and mercy.
Let us also remember that on Mount Sinai Moses also received the revelation of God’s will: the Ten Commandments. And, again, it was on the mountain that Elijah received from God the divine Revelation of a mission he was to undertake.
Jesus, on the contrary, did not receive the revelation of what he was to do: he already knew it. Rather it was the Apostles who heard God’s voice in the cloud, commanding: “Listen to him”.
God’s will was fully revealed in the Person of Jesus. Anyone who wants to live in accordance with God’s will must follow Jesus, listen to him and accept his words, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, acquire a deep knowledge of them. This is the first invitation I wish to offer you, dear friends, with great affection: grow in the knowledge and love of Christ, both as individuals and as a parish community, encounter him in the Eucharist, in listening to his word, in prayer and in charity.
The second point is the Church as a building and especially as a community. Before reflecting, however, on the Dedication of your church, I would like to tell you that my joy at being with you today is enhanced for a special reason. Indeed, St Corbinian founded the Diocese of Freising, Bavaria, of which I was Bishop for four years. In my episcopal coat of arms I chose to insert an element closely associated with this Saint’s history: a bear.
It is said that a bear had torn St Corbinian’s horse to pieces while the Saint was on his way to Rome. He harshly reprimanded it, succeeded in taming it and on its back loaded his baggage which had so far been carried by the horse. The bear bore this burden as far as Rome and only then did the Saint set it free.
Perhaps this is the point at which to say a few words about the life of St Corbinian. St Corbinian was French. He was a priest from the region of Paris, not far from which he had founded a monastery for himself. He was held in high esteem as a spiritual counselor but was more inclined to contemplation and therefore came to Rome to build a monastery here, close to the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul.
However Pope Gregory II — it was in about the year 720 — had founded a monastery nearby — thought highly of his qualities, had understood his qualities and ordained him a Bishop, charging him to go to Bavaria and to proclaim the Gospel in that land. Bavaria: the Pope was thinking of the country between the Danube and the Alps which had been the Roman Province of Raetia for 500 years. Only at the end of the fifth century did the majority of the Latin population return to Italy.
A few simple people had stayed there. The land was sparsely populated and a new people settled in it, the Bavarian people which, because the Country had been Christianized in the Roman period, discovered there a Christian heritage. The Bavarian people had understood straight away that this was the true religion and wanted to become Christian. However, there was a lack of educated people and priests to preach the Gospel.
And so Christianity had remained very fragmented, in its early stages. The Pope knew of this situation, he knew of the thirst for faith that existed in that country. He thus charged St Corbinian to go there and proclaim the Gospel there. And in Freising, in the ducal city on the hilltop, the Saint built the Cathedral — there was already a Shrine to Our Lady — and the Bishops See remained there for more than 1,000 years.
Only after the Napoleonic period was it transferred to Munich, 30 kilometres further south. It is still called the “Diocese of Munich and Freising”, and Freising’s majestic Romanesque cathedral has remained the heart of the diocese. So we see that saints uphold the Church’s unity and universality.
Universality: St Corbinian connects France, Germany and Rome. Unity: St Corbinian tells us that the Church is founded on Peter and guarantees to us that the Church founded on the rock will endure for ever. One thousand years ago she was the same Church that she is today, because the Lord is always the same. He is always Truth, ever old and ever new, very up to date, present, and the key opening the future.
I would now like to thank all who have contributed to building this church. I know how hard the Diocese of Rome is working to ensure every neighbourhood suitable parish complexes.
I greet and thank the Cardinal Vicar, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Sector and the Bishop Secretary of the “Opera Romana” (Roman institution) for the preservation of faith and the provision of new churches. I greet in particular my two successors. I greet Cardinal Wetter, who conceived the initiative of dedicating a parish church to St Corbinian and provided effective support for the project’s realization. Thank you, Your Eminence, many thanks. I am glad that the church was built so quickly.
I greet Cardinal Marx, the current Archbishop of Munich and Freising, who feels love not only for St Corbinian but also for his Church in Rome. My cordial thanks to you too. I also greet Bishop Clemens, from the Diocese of Paderborn who is Secretary of the Council for the Laity. I extend a special thought to the parish priest, Fr Antonio Magnotta, with my sincere gratitude for your words to me. Thank you! and of course I also greet the parochial vicar!
Through all of you present here, I would like to extend a word of affectionate closeness to the approximately 10,000 residents in the Parish territory. Gathered round the Eucharist, we more easily note that the mission of every Christian community is to take the message of God’s love to everyone, to make everyone know his face. This is why it is important that the Eucharist always be the heart of the life of the faithful, as it is today for your Parish, although not all its members have been able to take part in person.
Today we are living an important day which crowns the efforts, exertions and sacrifices made by and the commitment of the local people to form a mature Christian community that now has a Church, now definitively consecrated, in which to worship God.
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30 March 2014