Wednesday, April 4, 2018

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Crux: Pope wants Mass to flower in life, sends ‘Happy Easter!’ to Benedict XVI

Pope wants Mass to flower in life, sends ‘Happy Easter!’ to Benedict XVI
Pope Francis delivers his speech during a weekly general audience he held in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. (Credit: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino.)
The pope also sent a warm ‘Happy Easter’ to his predecessor Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, emphasizing the continuity of their pontificates, and, indirectly, responding to impressions of a rift following a recent Vatican scandal featuring efforts to suppress part of the content of a letter from Benedict about a new book series on Francis’s theology.

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“I would like for us to say ‘Happy Easter’ to the former Bishop of Rome, the beloved Pope Benedict, who watches us on television,” Pope Francis said. “To Pope Benedict, we shall say ‘Happy Easter’ and give a big applause!”

The crowd of over 20,000 according to estimates from the Vatican police, cheered happily while standing under the rain, with colorful umbrellas filling up St. Peter’s Square.

Despite the bad weather, the pope asked those gathered to stop and smell the roses.

“Mass is like a seed, which, in ordinary lives, grows, grows and matures in good deeds and the behaviors that liken us to Jesus,” Francis said in an unscripted remark. “The flowers of Mass are destined to mature in real life.”

The pope pointed to the many flowers left over from the Easter celebrations, which still filled the square. Since 1986, Dutch florists have been responsible for the floral display, this year filling the square with almost 50,000 flowers.

“In some places, Easter is called ‘Blossoming Easter’ because when the Risen Christ blooms, it’s the new flower,” he said. “Our justification blooms, the sanctity of the Church blooms. This is why so many flowers. It’s our joy.”

The Mass, Francis said, also reflects this cycle of ending and beginning, death and rebirth.
“Mass thus ends as it began, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the triune God who calls us to share in his divine life through the saving death and resurrection of the Lord,” Francis said.

But the ending of Mass, the pope continued, does not mean that the responsibility of the faithful to live out the Christian witness ends.

“We exit the Church to ‘go in peace’ and bring the blessing of God in our daily activities, in our homes, in our workplaces, among the occupations of the earthly city, ‘glorifying the Lord with our life’,” Francis said.

The Eucharist represents “Jesus entering within us, in our heart and in our flesh,” and the Mass is fulfilled by daily “concrete choices,” the pope explained. Through Communion, we “learn how to become Eucharistic men and women,” he added.

“Christians don’t go to Mass to perform a weekly task and then forget,” Francis said, in an off-the-cuff remark. “No! Christians go to Mass to participate in the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord and to live more as Christians.”

“Every time I leave Mass I must emerge better than when I entered, with a bigger desire to offer Christian witness,” he added.

“The fruits of Mass, therefore, are destined to mature in our everyday lives,” Francis said.

Communion, in fact, “separates us from sin,” Francis said, and it “renews, fortifies and deepens the tie with the Christian community.” The Eucharist helps faithful see Jesus in the eyes of the poor, waiting to be “recognized by us, served, honored, loved.”

With this in mind, “we have a continuous need to return to the holy altar, until, when in heaven, we will fully taste the beatitude of the wedding feast of the Lamb,” the pope concluded.

Francis concluded Mass with a special thought for the sick, newlyweds, the young and the elderly; by expressing the hope that “our lives may always be ‘flowered’ like this,” pointing again to the massive floral display in the square; and by offering one final “Happy Easter!”

1 comment:

George said...

Just as Christ came forth from the Blessed Virgin in the darkness of a cave on that Glorious and Holy morn, so to He came forth from the the darkness of the tomb at His Resurrection, the Eternal Sun rising in splendor on that resplendent morn in the New Day of Salvation. And so Christ came forth- the Divine Light, in triumph over the darkness of sin and death. He came forth, just as at the beginning Creation came forth, to fill the void of darkness. The Divine and Merciful Sun arose on the Day of Resurrection with rays of spiritual and grace filled light which shone forth with an everlasting splendor transcending that of any earthly luminance. The light of He through whom all was created brought illumination to dispel the darkness that was there. "All things came to be through Him and without Him nothing came to be. What came through Him was life and this life was the light of the human race. The light shines in the darkness,and the darkness has not overcome it" Just as at the beginning, the physical matter of Creation having been brought into being by God did expand and bring light to the darkness, so also Christ, in the form of His teachings,apostles, and disciples, would expand from the darkness of the tomb to fill the earth with His Divine Light and Mercy.

Oh so long ago, the All-Powerful God, from Whom all that exists was created, and from Whom all things were brought into existence, entered into our world as a helpless infant. The Supernal Light was revealed in the darkness of a cave. The Son of God, the Second Person of the Triune Divinity, to Whom we creatures owe our existence and dependence, descended from Heaven to become dependent upon a creature He sustains. He who is Omnipotent, came into the world as a powerless infant. He, who possesses far greater than any earthly wealth, entered our world into the most meager of surroundings. He,who is the Divine King and far above the greatest of earthly rulers, was born in an animal shelter, laid in a manger, and given homage by lowly shepherds. He did this for our benefit, to redeem us, so that just as He was born to us and entered into our existence, we could also be spiritually born to Him.