» 11/23/2013, 00.00
Pope to catechumens: The thirst for God unites people from all over the world. Without it, faith grows stale
Francis presides over the rite of admission to the catechumenate , the penultimate event of the Year of Faith, which closes tomorrow with a solemn Mass in St. Peter's. The pontiff gives Gospels to about 500 catechumens from all over the world , who are preparing to become Christians . During his homily, the pope underscores the "three moments" relative to this path : listening, encounter and the journey. Among the baptismal candidates presented to the Pope, Mahmoud Farah, Romina , Yoko (in a traditional Japanese robe ) , Olzi , Rami, Francesca , Kriztof , Mimosa and Zhao .
Vatican City ( AsiaNews ) - The
" thirst for God", the soul's longing for the Lord "unites all
people of the world. God is also 'thirsty for us ' , he wants to be with us.
Without this thirst, faith grows stale. Never forget that Jesus loves you,
and make no mistake, he will never betray you". These
were the words spoken by Pope Francis at Mass during which he welcomed hundreds
of catechumens from all over the world. 500
from 47 different countries in a rite of admission that is the penultimate
event of the Year of Faith, which closes tomorrow with a solemn Mass in St.
Welcoming the group in the atrium
of the basilica, the Bishop of Rome said: " It gives me great joy to
receive you here in the basilica that houses the relics of the Apostle Peter,
to whom we all look to be confirmed in the faith . The Word of God is made
flesh to reach the man, bewildered by his pride in sin. You too have been
touched by His passionate search and now you are preparing to receive His
mercy. The Church urges you to reach the fullness of communion with Him. "
Farah, Romina , Yoko (who wore a traditional Japanese robe and exchanged a few
words with the Pope before receiving the sign of the cross on her forehead) ,
Olzi , Rami, Francesca , Kriztof , Mimosa , Zhao are some of the names that are
the Pope's questions: "What do you ask of the Church? Faith. And what does
faith give? Eternal life ." Immediately
after the rites of entry into the catechumenate , Francis invited the group
into the basilica to begin the Mass.
In his homily , the
pope said : "Dear catechumens , this culmination of the Year of Faith sees
you gathered here , with your catechists and family members, representing also
many other men and women who are making , in different parts of the world ,
your same journey of faith . Spiritually , we are all connected at this time. You
come from many different countries , from different cultural traditions and
experiences . Yet , tonight we feel we have many things in common among us. We
have one in particular : the
desire for God. This desire is evoked by the words of the Psalmist : " As the deer longs for streams of water, so my
soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I
enter and see the face of God? "(Ps
42.2 to 3 .) How important it is to keep alive this desire, this longing to
meet the Lord and experience Him , his love , his mercy. If this thirst the
living God is missing, faith is likely to become habit, like a fire that is not
rekindled. It is likely to become stale,
The Gospel story, the
Pope noted , "shows John the Baptist who indicates Jesus to his disciples as
the Lamb of God.Two of them follow the Master, and then, in turn , become '
mediators ' who allow others to
meet the Lord , to know and to follow him. There are three moments in this
story that evoke the experience of the catechumenate . Firstly, there is the
listening. The two disciples heard the testimony of John the Baptist . Even
catechumens , you listened to those who spoke of Jesus and you have proposed you
to follow him and become his disciples by Baptism . In the tumult of many
voices that echo around us and inside of us , you have heard and received the
voice that indicated Jesus as the only one who can give full meaning to your
The second moment is encounter:
"The two disciples encounter the Master and remain with him. After
encountering him, they immediately notice something new in their hearts : the
need to convey their joy to others, so that they too can encounter Him. Andrew,
in fact, met his brother Simon and leads him to Jesus. It does us good to contemplate this! It reminds us that God did not create us to be
alone, locked within ourselves, but in order to encounter him and to be open to
encountering others . God first comes to each of us, and this is wonderful! He
comes to meet us. In the Bible God always appears as the one who takes the
initiative to encounter man : it is He who is
looking for man , and usually just as the man is in the midst of bitter experiences
and tragic betrayal of God, fleeing from Him. God does not wait to look for him:
he goes immediately to look for him. Our Father is a patient seeker, He goes before us and is always
when he encounters us, said Francis, "it is never a hurried meeting ,
because God wishes to stay with us at length, to support us, to console us , to
give us His joy. God hastens to meet us. But He is never in a hurry to leave
us , He stays with us . Just as we yearn for Him and desire Him, He too desires
to be with us, because we belong to Him, we are His, we are His creatures. He
too thirsts for us,
to meet us. Our God thirsts for us. This is the heart of God, and it is nice to
hear that. "
last part of the story is the journey: " The two disciples walk toward
Jesus and then journey a stretch of road with Him. This is an important lesson for all of us .
Faith is a journey with Jesus .. always remember this: faith
is to walk with Jesus, a journey that lasts a lifetime . Eventually there will
be an ending . Of course, in some moments of this journey we feel tired and
confused. But faith gives us the certainty of the constant presence of Jesus in
every situation, even the
most painful or difficult to understand. We are called to journey deeper and
deeper into the mystery of the love of God that is all encompassing and enables
us to live with peace and hope. "
conclusion, the Pope entrusted the group to support the Church and Mary, the perfect
disciple , and encouraged them to never forget "the day , the hour in
which you were with Jesus for the first time, you felt his gaze on of
you . Never forget that Jesus' gaze is on you , you, you ... it's a look of
love! You are always assured the faithful love of the Lord. He is faithful, and
make no mistake : He will not let you down ever.
after the prayer of the faithful, he concluded " go in peace and with joy,
because the Lord has seen you and loves you ."
Pope to end the Year of Faith with Apostolic Exhortation 'Evangelii gaudium'
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Card. John Tong
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