At the Mass in suffrage of the cardinals and bishops who died this year, Pope Francis recalls the root of their commitment to the Church, "the faith in the love of Christ, from which nothing can separate us." "Some of them were called to bear witness to the Gospel in a heroic manner, sustaining heavy tribulations".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In celebrating Mass today in suffrage for the Cardinals and Bishops who died in the year, Pope Francis said that "in light of the Paschal Mystery of Christ, their death is, in fact, the entry into the fullness of life".
"In this light of faith - he added - we feel even closer to our deceased brothers: death has apparently separated us but the power of Christ and his Spirit unites us even more profoundly."
Today's Prayer, said the pope is an opportunity to renew "our gratitude for the Christian and priestly witness that they have left us."
They, he said, have "served the Church and loved the Lord Jesus, in the certainty of love that the Apostle Paul reminds us of in the Second Reading:" Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? "(Rom 8:35) . It is faith in the love of Christ, from which nothing can separate us: not tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or danger, not death, nor life ... ".
Their life, like that of all Christians, was a "path to the Father's house" which is “the goal, rest and peace."
"The path to the Father's house begins, for each of us, on the very day that we open our eyes to the light and, through Baptism, grace. An important step in this journey, for us priests and bishops, is the moment when we pronounce the '' Here I am! during our priestly ordination. Since that time we are united to Christ in a special way, associated with his ministerial priesthood. The hour of death, the last time we will pronounce "here I am", united with that of Jesus, who died entrusting his spirit into the Father's hands (cf. Lk 23:46). "
The deceased cardinals and bishops "were shepherds of Christ's flock, and to imitate Him, spent, donated and sacrificed themselves for the salvation of the people entrusted to them. They sanctified them through the sacraments and guided them on the path of salvation. Full of the Holy Spirit's power, they proclaimed the Gospel; with fatherly love have striven to love everyone, especially the poor, the helpless and the needy ".
"With their ministry have imprinted the consoling truth in the hearts of the faithful that" grace and mercy are with his elect "(Wis 3,9). In the name of the God of mercy and forgiveness, their hands have blessed and absolved, their words have comforted and dried tears, their presence testified eloquently that the goodness of God is inexhaustible and his mercy is infinite. Some of them were called to bear witness to the Gospel in a heroic manner, sustaining heavy tribulations ".
"Nourished by the Bread of life - he concluded - we, together with those who have gone before us, we await with firm hope our encounter with theluminous and merciful face of the Father".