The Sistine choir continues to amaze us with their improved singing and chanting. Please note that the propers are chanted, the Mass is primarily in Latin and very sober and beautiful. I've concelebrated as the only concelebrant at this altar with the main celebrant when our choir sang at an evening Sunday Mass at the Basilica there. The Mass was in Italian and while I know and understand Italian at a child's level, I've taught myself to read it which I find more difficult that Latin or Spanish to read. So you can only imagine how my heart skipped a couple of beats when the priest-celebrant during the Eucharistic Prayer pointed to the part he wanted me to pray which was in Italian. I had not looked it over ahead of time but I rose to to occasion, I think and also I think I sounded like a true Tuscano. Also, I sat in the chair which would be to the right of the pope facing him.
This Mass was this morning:
Vatican Radio: Pope
Francis said just as Jesus knelt to wash the feet of his closest
disciples, so he calls all his ministers today to renew their commitment
to service in his Church. Just as Jesus came to serve and not to be
served, the Pope insisted, so his ministers are called in turn to be
pastors, ready to give their lives for their flock. In the eyes of this
world, he said, those who serve are seen as losers: but in reality it is
those who give their lives and lose themselves in the love of Christ
who will overcome death and give life to the world.
Pope Francis recalled the words of Jesus that “God so loved the
world” that he sent his Son as a servant to take on our sins and to save
us from death by dying for us. Just as the Israelites were saved from
death, after being bitten by poisonous snakes, by looking at the bronze
snake that Moses held up on a pole, so Christ saves us from death
through his death on the Cross.
To our eyes, death seems dark and fearful, just as those who died
from snake bites in the desert were full of fear and suffering. Yet
Jesus took fully upon himself all these contradictions, the Pope said,
so that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life”.
This style of service and humility, he continued, has much to teach
us. Though we find it hard to accept this mystery, he said, the secret
lies in the strength of God’s love for us. Through the mystery of
Easter, Jesus not only conquered death but transformed evil into good –
not through words, but deeds, not on the surface but at the root. He has
transformed the Cross into a bridge towards life and we can do the same
if we choose to follow his example of service and humility.