06/27/2010, 00.00
VATICAN

Follow Jesus, where freedom and love are one and the same, Pope says

Benedict XVI stresses the radical needs of those who consecrate themselves to Christ, expressing a “radicalness” that is due to God’s love to which Jesus himself was first to obey. Estéphan Nehmé, a brother in the Lebanese Maronite Order, is beatified today in Lebanon. The Holy Father thanks everyone for the offerings made on the Pope’s Charity Day.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – “Those who give up everything, even themselves, to follow Jesus enter a new dimension of freedom, one that Saint Paul calls ‘liv[ing] by the Spirit’ (cf Gal, 5:16) . . . . This new form of freedom acquired for us consists in ‘serv[ing] one another’ (Gal, 5:1,13). Hence, freedom and love are one and the same! By contrast, obeying one’s own selfishness leads to rivalries and conflicts.”

In today’s Angelus, Benedict XVI focused again on the needs implicit in one’s total consecration to Jesus Christ as befits the priestly ordination.

Just last week, the Pope consecrated 14 new presbyters for the Diocese of Rome. Like in every consecration, they represent “a living example of a radical response to the divine vocation.”

Commenting the Gospel (Luke, 9:51-62) in today’s Mass, the Pontiff went through some meetings Jesus held with young people. He warned that the “Son of man has nowhere to rest his head,” that whomever “chooses to work with Him in God’s field cannot pull back”, and that a “clear break with family ties” is needed.

“These needs can appear harsh,” the Pope said, “but in reality they express the newness and absolute priority of the Kingdom of God, which comes into being in the Person of Jesus Christ himself. Ultimately, we owe such radicalness to God’s love, to which Jesus himself was first to obey”.

Thinking back to the Year for Priests and its conclusion on 11 June (Solemnity of the Sacred Heart), the Pope said, “Today, I would like to invite everyone to contemplate the mystery of the divine-human heart of the Lord Jesus so that we may tap into the source of God’s love. Anyone who stares at that pierced heart, always open to love us, feels the truth of this plea, “Thou art my Lord; I have no good apart from thee” (resp Psalm), and is ready to leave behind everything to follow the Lord. Oh Mary, who responded unconditionally to the divine call, pray for us!”

After the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI spoke about  Br Estéphan Nehmé, a member of the Lebanese Maronite Order whose life spanned the 19th and 20th century and who was beatified today in Lebanon. “I congratulate wholeheartedly our Lebanese brothers and sisters,” the Pope said, “with great affection and entrust them to the protection of the new Blessed.”

Benedict XVI then expressed his “deep gratitude to all those who, through prayers and offerings, support the apostolic and charitable work of the Successor of Peter in favour of the Universal Church and the many brothers near and far.” Today in fact is the Pope's Charity Day, which is celebrated around the world with special fundraisers on behalf of the Pontiff, who will use the money thus collected in situations of emergency and need.

Photo: CPP

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