Tag Archives: Resurrection of Christ

POPE FRANCIS GENERAL AUDIENCE — Saint Peter’s Square, Wednesday, 10 April 2013

POPE FRANCIS

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter’s Square
Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good day!

Pope gives thumbs up as he leaves general audience in St. Peter's Square at VaticanIn the last Catechesis we have focused on the event of the Resurrection of Jesus, in which women have played a special role. Today I would like to reflect on its meaning for salvation. What does the Resurrection mean for our lives? And why, without it, is our faith in vain? Our faith is based on the death and resurrection of Christ, just like a house built on foundations: if they give in, the whole house collapses. On the Cross, Jesus offered himself taking sins upon himself our and going down into the abyss of death, and in the Resurrection he defeats them, he removes them and opens up to us the path to be reborn to a new life. St. Peter expresses it briefly at the beginning of his First Letter, as we have heard: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you”(1:3-4).

The Apostle tells us that the Resurrection of Jesus is something new: we are freed from the slavery of sin and become children of God, that we are born to a new life. When does this happen to us? In the Sacrament of Baptism. In ancient times, it was normally received through immersion. Those to be baptized immersed themselves in the large pool within the Baptistery, leaving their clothes, and the bishop or the priest would pour water over their head three times, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Then the baptized would emerge from the pool and put on a new vestment, a white one: they were born to a new life, immersing themselves in the death and resurrection of Christ. They had become children of God. In the Letter to the Romans Saint Paul writes: you ” For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father! ‘”(Rom. 8:15). It is the Holy Spirit that we received in baptism that teaches us, leads us to say to God, “Father.” Or rather, Abba Father. This is our God, He is a father to us. The Holy Spirit produces in us this new status as children of God, and this is the greatest gift we receive from the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. And God treats us as His children, He understands us, forgives us, embraces us, loves us even when we make mistakes . In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah said that even though a mother may forget her child, God never, ever forgets us (cf. 49:15). And this is a beautiful thing, beautiful!

However, this filial relationship with God is not like a treasure to be kept in a corner of our lives. It must grow, it must be nourished every day by hearing the Word of God, prayer, participation in the sacraments, especially the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist and charity. We can live as children! We can live as children! And this is our dignity. So let us behave as true children! This means that each day we must let Christ transform us and make us like Him; it means trying to live as Christians, trying to follow him, even if we see our limitations and our weaknesses. The temptation to put God to one side, to put ourselves at the center is ever-present and the experience of sin wounds our Christian life, our being children of God. This is why we must have the courage of faith, we must resist being led to the mentality that tells us: “There is no need for God, He is not that important for you”. It is the exact opposite: only by behaving as children of God, without being discouraged by our falls, can we feel loved by Him, our life will be new, inspired by serenity and joy. God is our strength! God is our hope!

Dear brothers and sisters, we must first must firmly have this hope and we must be visible, clear, brilliant signs of hope in world. The Risen Lord is the hope that never fails, that does not disappoint (cf. Rom 5:5). God’s hope never disappoints!. How many times in our life do our hopes vanish, how many times do the expectations that we carry in our heart not come true! The hope of Christians is strong, safe and sound in this land, where God has called us to walk, and is open to eternity, because it is founded on God, who is always faithful. We should never forget this; God is always faithful! God is always faithful! Be risen with Christ through Baptism, with the gift of faith, to an imperishable inheritance, leads us to increasingly search for the things of God, to think of Him more, to pray more. Christianity is not simply a matter of following commandments; it is about living a new life, being in Christ, thinking and acting like Christ, and being transformed by the love of Christ, it is allowing Him take possession of our lives and change them, transform them, to free them from the darkness of evil and sin.

Dear brothers and sisters, to those who ask us our reasons for the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Pt 3:15), let us point to the Risen Christ. Let us point to Him with the proclamation of the Word, but especially with our resurrected life. Let us show the joy of being children of God, the freedom he gifts us to live in Christ, who is true freedom, freedom from the slavery of evil, sin and death! In looking to our heavenly home, we will also have a new light and strength in our commitment and in our daily efforts. It is a precious service that we give to our world, which is often no longer able to lift its gaze upwards, it no longer seems able to lift its gaze towards God.

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Bishop Robert Vasa: ‘The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified’

vasa.gifBEND, OREGON — We enter upon that liturgical season which, in some ways, begins with Jesus’ acknowledgement that “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.” (John 12:23)

            The approaching of that “hour” was not greeted by Jesus with any element of joyful exuberance but rather willful determination: “I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” (John 12:27)

            There was no doubt in Jesus’ mind that the “hour” of His Passion and Death was the defining moment toward which His entire mission and purpose was directed. The clarity of His mission gave direction to the whole of His life. He was always very clear: “I have come to do the will of Him who sent me!” (cf. John 5:30) The faithful following of His Father’s will, leading as it did to the hill of Calvary, was not necessarily cheerful and it was certainly not easy.

            Beginning on Sunday, Palm Sunday, we are all invited to walk with Jesus in this “hour” and perhaps by doing so discovering for ourselves that thing about which we can ultimately say: “But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.”

            Undoubtedly every one of us has experienced many such “hours” over the course of the years. For those who are married the day of marriage looks very much like “that for which I have been born.” For priests, the day of ordination stands out quite preeminently. For those suffering with cancer, perhaps the day of diagnosis could be viewed as the day when one’s “hour” had come.

            Then there are the days related to these primary days which raise the question again, “Was it for this that I have been sent?” The day of the birth of a child is a day on which parents might rightly ask, “Was it for this purpose that I have come to this hour?” A priest hearing a particularly distraught confession spanning many years and then offering the grace of healing and forgiveness might reflect, “Was it for this moment that I have become a priest?”

            In a far different way, a person, perhaps working for decades to discover some medical breakthrough, might upon making that breakthrough proclaim, Eureka, this gives meaning to my existence. Such a discovery, however, unless it is in accord with God’s will, may seem to give meaning and significance to life but it does not “give life” in the same way that Jesus comes to “give life.”

             No one of us will ever be able to declare definitively, at any moment in life, that the moment being considered is the ideal summation of the whole meaning of our entire lives. Yet, this is what Jesus declares when looking to the days we are now preparing to remember and celebrate, the days of His Passion, Death and, of course, Resurrection. This clarity on the part of Jesus helped assure that every moment of His life was likewise consistent with the will of His Father and consistent with the “purpose for which He came.” While we may not have a very high degree of security in trying to determine that precise moment which adequately defines or epitomizes the whole meaning of our lives, we can, nonetheless, arrive at a degree of peaceful security that we are living in a way consistent with that meaning. Like Jesus we are to strive to live a life consistent with “the will of the Father.” “I have come to do the will of Him who sent me.”

            It may seem a bit odd to ask, “Was it God’s will that I travel to Portland this weekend?” I would like to believe that there was nothing inconsistent with God’s will for me to have done so. Was it God’s will the I meet with the various folks with whom I had the opportunity to meet? Again I would like to believe that there was nothing inconsistent with God’s will for me to have done so. Beyond that I would like to be able to affirm that my having gone to Portland and having met with various folks was, in fact, perfectly consistent with God’s will for me.

            I would say the same thing about my travel to Baker City and the Cathedral for the celebration of the Chrism Mass. While it is my responsibility to set the precise day, time and location the Church clearly instructs Bishops about the duty to celebrate the Mass of the Chrism and sets the precise ritual to be followed in doing so. Thus my celebrating of the Mass of Chrism fulfills the mandate of the Church which is, for me in faith, a fulfillment of God’s will in this matter. I would like to believe that it is also “God’s will” that a significant number of the faithful of the Diocese likewise travel to the Cathedral to participate in this annual blessing of Sacramental Oils but that may be an unjust expansion of my understanding of God’s will. I could say, with a high degree of certainty, that traveling to the Cathedral to participate in the Mass of Chrism would not seem to be inconsistent with the will of God.

            There are some who are very reluctant to equate the teaching of the Church with the “will of God.” Yet, for myself, I find it very difficult to assert that God’s will for me in a particular matter, and perhaps even in a very small matter, is directly opposed to the manifestation of “His will” through the Church. Even when, or perhaps especially when the “will of God” as expressed by the Magisterial Church seems to run contrary to what I personally feel or desire I must strive to submit my own will and desire to that manifest will of God. When the teachings of the Church bump up against my own will and my own desires then what am I to say: ‘Father, save me from this hour’ or ‘Father, this teaching is unacceptable’ or ‘Father, you are simply wrong’?

            As a part of our Easter celebration we focus on the Creed in a slightly different form. We take up that creedal dialogue connected with Baptism and answer a personal, ‘I do’, to each tenet of our Creed. To the question: “Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the Resurrection of the body and life everlasting?” we answer, “I do.”

Included in that answer, included in our weekly Profession of Faith is a commitment to accept the teachings of the Church as a part of the manifest will of God for us.