Pope: Christians of Rome, joyfully proclaim

On the feast of the dedication of the basilica of St. John Lateran, Pope Francis offers "three little verses" as a gift to the Christians of the city, to the priests, to the members of the pastoral teams.  The invitation to a "movement": "GO out to meet others, enter into dialogue with them, listen to them with humility, gratuitousness and poverty of heart".  "There is no human heart in which Christ does not want and cannot be reborn".  The mobile health clinic in St. Peter's Square at the service of the poor, in preparation for the World Day of the Poor.

 

 


Rome (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis this evening made a wish; that Rome's Christians' become "joyful proclaimers, determined to share with others the treasures of the Word of God and to work for the common good", as he celebrated the dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the city of which he is bishop.

The pontiff, together with the cardinal vicar, auxiliary bishops and many priests, presided over the Eucharist in the basilica, the oldest church in Rome.  For this occasion, a golden cross was suspended, high over the altar in the cosmati style ambo, made from materials from the ancient Constantinian basilica.  The Pope wore a chasuble embroidered by some Sisters of Rome, which echoes the motif of the "jeweled cross", depicted in the apse of the basilica.

In his homily, Francis wanted to gift "three verses" to the various components of the Roman Christian community, choosing them from the readings of the liturgy of the feast.

 "To the whole diocesan community of Rome" he gave "the verse of the responsorial psalm:"A river and its tributaries liven the city of God "(46,5).  The Christians who live in this city are like the river that flows from the temple: they carry a Word of Life and of hope capable of fertilizing the deserts of hearts, like the torrent described in Ezekiel's vision (see chapter 47) ".

He then described the "movement" that characterizes the faithful of the city: "Meet others, enter into dialogue with them, listen to them with humility, gratuitousness and poverty of heart ... I invite you to live all this not as a heavy task,  but with a spiritual lightness: instead of getting caught up in performance anxiety, it is more important to widen our perception to grasp the presence and action of God in the city.  It is a contemplation that comes from love ".

The second verse is dedicated to presbyters, and is taken from the "Second Reading, of the First Letter to the Corinthians:"For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."(3.11).  This is your task, the heart of your ministry: helping the community to always be at the feet of the Lord to listen to the Word;  keep her away from all worldliness, from bad compromises;  to guard the foundation and the holy root of the spiritual building;  defend it from rapacious wolves, from those who would like to make it deviate from the way of the Gospel ".

 The third verse is dedicated to the "members of the pastoral teams, who are here to receive a particular mandate from the Bishop.  I could only choose it from the Gospel (Jn 2,13-22), where Jesus behaves in a divinely provocative manner ".  Explaining the evangelical page, Francis points out Jesus' answer to the Jews: "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up" (v. 19) ".

"You are entrusted - he emphasized - with the task of helping your communities and pastoral workers to reach all the inhabitants of the city, identifying new ways to meet those who are far from the faith and from the Church.  But, in doing this service, bring this awareness, this trust, into it: there is no human heart in which Christ does not want and cannot be reborn.  In our lives as sinners, we often find ourselves turning away from the Lord and extinguishing the Spirit.  We destroy the temple of God that is each of us.  Yet this is never a definitive situation: it takes the Lord three days to rebuild his temple within us! "

Before the celebration, Francis stopped briefly in the churchyard of the basilica, in front of the memorial plaque in honor of the victims of poverty, thus starting the third World Day of the Poor which will culminate in the celebration of Sunday November 17th in the Basilica of Saint Peter.  From today, a Health Clinic has been opened in St Peter's Square.  For a week it will provide specialist medical examinations, treatment, clinical analysis and free examinations for all the poor.

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