Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "It is time for the mission," this is the mandate of Benedict XVI, entrusted now to five new bishops ordained in St Peter’s basilica this morning. A mission that brings to men “the light of truth that frees them from poverty of truth, which is real sadness and real poverty. Mission that brings them the Good News that is not only words, but an event: God, Himself, has come from us. "
Receiving the Gospel, ring, mitre and pastoral cross, signs of the Episcopal mission from the Pope this morning were; Mgr. Savio Hon Tai-Fai, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Mgr. Marcello Bartolucci, secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Mgr. Celso Morga Iruzubieta, secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, Mgr. Antonio Guido Filipazzi, Apostolic Nuncio, and Mgr. Edgar Peña Parra, who is also an apostolic nuncio.
Their mission is to "cast the net of the Gospel in the rough seas of this time to obtain the adhesion of people to Christ" because "it may seem that large parts of the modern world, of the men of today, are turning away from God and consider faith a thing of the past – and yet there is still a yearning for justice, love, peace, to be finally established and poverty and suffering overcome, that people find joy. All this yearning is present in today's world, a yearning for all that is great, for all that is good. It is nostalgia for the Redeemer, God himself, even where he is denied. "
It is a 'great task', which in practical terms requires the four elements that have already been the theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the memory of how the early Christians "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer"(Acts 2:42). They are "the fundamental elements of Christian communion in the Church of Jesus Christ," Benedict XVI traced his homily from the phrase” and they devoted themselves”. “Devotion, diligence, belongs to the essence of being a Christian and is fundamental to the pastors task as workers in the Lord's harvest. The Pastor should not be like chaff driven by the wind, a servant of the spirit of the time. Being intrepid, having the courage to oppose the trends of the time, is essential to the task of the pastor. He must not be chaff, but - according to the image of the first Psalm - he must be like a tree that has deep roots, upon which it is solid and well grounded. This has nothing to do with the rigidity or inflexibility. Only where there is stability is there also growth. Cardinal Newman, whose path was marked by three conversions, says that living means transforming oneself. But his three conversions and the transformations that took place in them are, however, one consistent journey: the journey of obedience to the truth, to God, the true journey of continuity which in this way brings about progress".
"Perseverance to the teaching of the Apostles", then, means to remember that "faith has a concrete content. Spirituality is not a vague, indefinable feeling for transcendence. God has acted and He truly spoke. He has really done something and he actually said something. Certainly, faith is, at first, trusting in God, a living relationship with God But the God in whom we place our trust has a face and gave us His word. We can count on the stability of His word. "
The second “pillar of the life of the Church” is communion. "Communion with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Jn 1:1-4). God made himself visible and tangible for us and so has created a real communion with himself. We enter into communion through this belief and live together with those whom have been touched by Him. With them and through, we to in a certain way, see and touch the God who became close for us. Thus the horizontal and vertical are here inextricably intertwined with each other. By being in communion with the Apostles, by standing with them in faith, we ourselves are in contact with the living God. Dear friends, the purpose of the ministry of Bishops is that this chain of communion is not interrupted. This is the essence of apostolic succession: to preserve communion with those who have met the Lord in a visible and tangible way, and so keep Heaven open, God's presence among us. Only through communion with the Successors of the Apostles are we also in contact with the incarnate God. But the reverse is also true: only through communion with God, only through communion with Jesus Christ this chain of witnesses, stays together. One is never a Bishops on his won, says Vatican II, but always only in the College of Bishops. Therefore he cannot lock himself up in the time of his generation. The intertwining of all generations, the living Church of every age belongs to collegiality. You dear Brothers - he continued, turning to the soon to be ordained – have the mission of preserving this Catholic communion. You know that the Lord has appointed St. Peter and his successors to be the centre of that community, the guarantors of being in the totality of apostolic communion and His faith. Offer your help so the joy of the great unity of the Church, the communion of all the places and times, so the community of faith that embraces the heavens and the earth remains alive".
Third "fundamental element of the Church's" is the breaking of bread. "The Holy Eucharist is the centre of the Church must be the centre of our being Christians and our priestly life." "Breaking bread - along with what is also expressed in sharing, transmitting our love with others. The social dimension, sharing is not a moral appendix which is added an to the Eucharist, rather it is part of it. This is clear from his verse in Acts which follows the one quoted above: "... All the believers had everything in common," says Luke (2:44). We must be careful that faith is always expressed in love and justice of one towards another and that our social practice is inspired by faith, that faith is lived in love. "
"The last pillar of the Church's, is prayer. "Prayer, on the one hand, must be very personal, a joining of my deepest self with God. It must be my battle with Him, my search for Him, my thanks to Him and my joy in Him. However, it is never simply a private matter of my "individual self”, which does not affect others. Praying is always essentially also praying in the "we" of God's children. Only in this "we" are we the children of our Father, which the Lord has taught us to pray. Only this "we" gives us access to the Father. On the one hand, our prayer must become more personal touch and penetrate more deeply the core of our self. On the other, we must always be fed by prayerful communion, unity of the Body of Christ, to truly shape myself beginning with love of God. Thus praying, ultimately, is not one activity among others, a certain corner of my time. Praying is the answer to the imperative that is at the beginning of the Canon in the Eucharistic celebration: Sursum corda - Lift up your hearts! It is the ascending of my existence on high to God. "
"In this regard, St. Gregory the Great points out that John the Baptist called Jesus a "burning and shining lamp" (Jn 5:35) and he continues: by saying that "ardent with Celestial desire, resplendent with the word. So that the veracity of the proclamation be preserved, the height of life must be preserved”. The height, the high standard of life, which today is so essential to witness in favour of Jesus Christ, we can find it in prayer only when we allow ourselves to be constantly pulled by Him toward His height. "