23 March 2013

Pope Francis and Benedict XVI meet on feast of Patron Saint of Latin American bishops

St Turibius of Mongrovejo (16 November 1538 – 23 March 1606)

St Turibius (San Toribio) was a Spaniard who became third Archbishop of Lima, Peru. He was ordained priest in 1578 at the age of 40 and appointed Archbishop of Lima the following year. Among those he confirmed were St Rose of Lima and St Martin de Porres.

Today Pope Francis will meet with his predecessor, Benedict XVI. I don't know if it just a coincidence that today is the feast day of the Patron Saint of Latin American Bishops, St Turibius of Mongrovejo. If so, it is a happy coincidence.

The second reading in the Office of Readings for St Turibius is taken from Christus Dominus, the Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, No 12, proclaimed by Pope Paul VI on 28 October 1965 during the Second Vatican Council and includes this passage [emphasis mine in quotations below]:

In exercising their duty of teaching - which is conspicuous among the principal duties of bishops - they should announce the Gospel of Christ to men, calling them to a faith in the power of the Spirit or confirming them in a living faith. They should expound the whole mystery of Christ to them, namely, those truths the ignorance of which is ignorance of Christ. At the same time they should point out the divinely revealed way to give glory to God and thereby to attain to eternal happiness.

Benedict XVI in his Message for World Youth Day 2013, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in July, wrote: What does it mean to be a missionary? Above all, it means being a disciple of Christ. It means listening ever anew to the invitation to follow him and look to him: 'Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart' (Mt 11:29). A disciple is a person attentive to Jesus’ word (cf. Lk 10:39), someone who acknowledges that Jesus is the Teacher who has loved us so much that he gave his life for us. Each one of you, therefore, should let yourself be shaped by God’s word every day. This will make you friends of the Lord Jesus and enable you to lead other young people to friendship with him.

I encourage you to think of the gifts you have received from God so that you can pass them on to others in turn.

In the homily he gave at the Mass celebrated in the Sistine Chapel on 14 March with the cardinals who had elected him Pope Francis said: 

This Gospel [Matthew 16:13-19] continues with a situation of a particular kind. The same Peter who professed Jesus Christ, now says to him: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the Cross. That has nothing to do with it. I will follow you on other terms, but without the Cross. When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly: we may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.

My wish is that all of us, after these days of grace, will have the courage, yes, the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward.

May the meeting of Pope Francis and Benedict XVI be a blessed moment  as each embarks on a new way of serving the Church and may this moment in history be one when each of us will truly desire to be a disciple of Jesus Christ to the fullest extent possible, with God's grace, knowing that to be such is to carry his Cross. 

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