HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
Saint Peter's Square
We have just heard one of the most famous phrases in the entire Gospel: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21).
Goaded by the Pharisees who wanted, as it were, to give him an exam in religion and catch him in error, Jesus gives this ironic and brilliant reply. It is a striking phrase which the Lord has bequeathed to all those who experience qualms of conscience, particularly when their comfort, their wealth, their prestige, their power and their reputation are in question. This happens all the time; it always has.
Certainly Jesus puts the stress on the second part of the phrase: “and [render] to God the things that are God’s”. This calls for acknowledging and professing – in the face of any sort of power – that God alone is the Lord of mankind, that there is no other. This is the perennial newness to be discovered each day, and it requires mastering the fear which we often feel at God’s surprises.
God is not afraid of new things! That is why he is continually surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways. He renews us: he constantly makes us “new”. A Christian who lives the Gospel is “God’s newness” in the Church and in the world. How much God loves this “newness”!
“Rendering to God the things that are God’s” means being docile to his will, devoting our lives to him and working for his kingdom of mercy, love and peace.
Here is where our true strength is found; here is the leaven which makes it grow and the salt which gives flavour to all our efforts to combat the prevalent pessimism which the world proposes to us. Here too is where our hope is found, for when we put our hope in God we are neither fleeing from reality nor seeking an alibi: instead, we are striving to render to God what is God’s. That is why we Christians look to the future, God’s future. It is so that we can live this life to the fullest – with our feet firmly planted on the ground – and respond courageously to whatever new challenges come our way.
In these days, during the extraordinary Synod of Bishops, we have seen how true this is. “Synod” means “journeying together”. And indeed pastors and lay people from every part of the world have come to Rome, bringing the voice of their particular Churches in order to help today’s families walk the path the Gospel with their gaze fixed on Jesus. It has been a great experience, in which we have lived synodality and collegiality, and felt the power of the Holy Spirit who constantly guides and renews the Church. For the Church is called to waste no time in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost hope.
For the gift of this Synod and for the constructive spirit which everyone has shown, in union with the Apostle Paul “we give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers” (1 Thessalonians 1:2). May the Holy Spirit, who during these busy days has enabled us to work generously, in true freedom and humble creativity, continue to guide the journey which, in the Churches throughout the world, is bringing us to the Ordinary Synod of Bishops in October 2015. We have sown and we continued to sow, patiently and perseveringly, in the certainty that it is the Lord who gives growth to what we have sown (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:6).
On this day of the Beatification of Pope Paul VI, I think of the words with which he established the Synod of Bishops: “by carefully surveying the signs of the times, we are making every effort to adapt ways and methods… to the growing needs of our time and the changing conditions of society” (Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Apostolica Sollicitudo).
When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI! Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!
In his personal journal, the great helmsman of the Council wrote, at the conclusion of its final session: “Perhaps the Lord has called me and preserved me for this service not because I am particularly fit for it, or so that I can govern and rescue the Church from her present difficulties, but so that I can suffer something for the Church, and in that way it will be clear that he, and no other, is her guide and saviour” (P. Macchi, Paolo VI nella sua parola, Brescia, 2001, pp. 120-121). In this humility the grandeur of Blessed Paul VI shines forth: before the advent of a secularized and hostile society, he could hold fast, with farsightedness and wisdom – and at times alone – to the helm of the barque of Peter, while never losing his joy and his trust in the Lord.
Paul VI truly “rendered to God what is God’s” by devoting his whole life to the “sacred, solemn and grave task of continuing in history and extending on earth the mission of Christ” (Homily for the Rite of Coronation: Insegnamenti I, (1963), 26), loving the Church and leading her so that she might be “a loving mother of the whole human family and at the same time the minister of its salvation” (Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam Suam, Prologue).
Saint Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
At the end of this solemn celebration, I would like to greet the pilgrims who have come from Italy and from various countries, with a deferential thought for the official Delegations. In particular, I greet the faithful from the Dioceses of Brescia, Milan and Rome, linked in a meaningful way to the life and to the ministry of Pope Montini. I thank everyone for your presence and I beseech you to faithfully follow the teachings and the example of the new Blessed.
He was a strenuous supporter of the missione ad gentes; testimony of which is above all the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, with which he intended to reawaken the passion for and commitment to the Church’s mission. This Exhortation is still current, it retains all of its relevance! It is important to consider this aspect of the Pontificate of Paul VI today, as World Mission Sunday is celebrated.
Before we, everyone together, invoke Our Lady with the Angelus prayer, I would like to underline Blessed Paul VI's profound Marian devotion. The Christian people will always be grateful to this Pontiff for the Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus and for his having proclaimed Mary “Mother of the Church”, on the occasion of the closing of the Second Vatican Council.
May Mary, Queen of Saints and Mother of the Church, help us to faithfully realize the will of the Lord in our life, as the new Blessed did.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Pope Francis I, so that they could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Dear Daddy God, we would like to report to you and offer our distress to you. On 5 November 2014, some people uploaded untrue and detrimental statement onto their Official Website to defame “抹黑” Singapore. This is not the first time as they have been using similar tactics since 2012:
· The bus drivers protest issue happened on 26 November 2012,
· The “mini riot” happened in Little India on 8 December 2013 late night which we settled within 3 hours,
· Making detrimental report & published damaging statements to the Whole World on our Economy & Competitiveness in their TV News Stations on 13 May 2014 (see Encouragements-416).
Dear Daddy God, you know that we have always been treating others in an equitable and diplomatic manner on official matters (though we do not know if there is any black sheep among us who do otherwise). We are not interested to be that “World’s Number 1 or Number 2” but we are only keen to improve ourselves, do our jobs well and be a useful contributor to the International Community.
We now consecrate our “tiny red dot” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and humbly seek your protection from all harm. Please help us to be a blessing to all who come into contact with us. Help us to be excellent partners to all who work with us and let all of us truly seek to obtain win-win cooperation with others not in words only but in deeds.
We will forgive what they have done to us as you taught us so that your abundant blessings will keep showering upon us. Daddy God, we love you and we want your Kingdom to reign in our Political, Commercial World and at home.
Thank you, Daddy God and we present our petition to you through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Singaporeans, 9 November 2014
Poor dears, didn’t I warn you on numerous occasions in the past not to defame Singapore and provoke the Singaporeans? But you have continued to do so as senseless people refusing to heed wise advice.
On 12 November 2014, you published to the Whole World that “the relationship between Singapore and Malaysia has turned sour”. Didn’t you know that the Singaporeans have business dealings with most part of the World including Malaysia, United States and China? And due to our friendly dispositions, we have allies all over the World.
Billions of people have been using the Internet and TV to promote themselves, to improve their exposure in Business and to be loved by the International Communities, but you have used them to invite hatred “被討厭” by creating stories to cause damage to Singapore and the Singaporeans.
It seems that the Defamation has been transmitted to most Singaporeans and their allies via emails and other electronic means, you should know how fast they can be transmitted. It is now impossible for anyone not to recognise you as your faces have become so famous in TV and the internet over the years.
My sincere advice is that you should quickly go into hiding after work to ensure that you won’t get hurt. You know people can be unpredictable when they are in an extremely angry state.
The same applies whether you are “the Mastermind of the Defamation” or “the Agent”.
You decide if one is a fool being made “the Agent” of someone to do these base acts.
You seem quite happy to appear on TV and the internet almost daily.
Poor dears, why did you mock Singapore on 6 February 2015 and provoke the Singaporeans, a people who do you no harm? Some people rise to fame and others fall from grace, based on whether they have been life-giving and responsible in words and deeds or have been using the same to invite hatred and contempt.
Don’t you think it is foolish for so few of you to provoke at least 5.5 million of us populated inside & outside Singapore? No one can predict what will happen next. Didn’t you know that when coming to defending Singapore, doing acts of kindness and making money, the Singaporeans are always united?
7 January 2015