"Let the Lord deliver us from every temptation that takes away from the essential part of our mission, and let us rediscover the beauty of professing faith in the Lord Jesus.” Even in our workplaces, “Let no one feel neglected or mistreated; let everyone experience, first of all here, the loving care of the Good Shepherd."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of the Chair of Peter and the Jubilee of Mercy for the “community of service” of the Roman Curia, the Governatorate, and all the Institutions related to the Holy See.
As he did on other occasions, the pontiff insisted on a “strong pastoral sense" as a feature of the work of the Roman Curia during his homily at the Mass he celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica this morning. Francis told members of the Curia to "Be pastors in the Church, let the face of God the Good Shepherd enlighten us, purify us, transform us, and fully return us renewed to our mission" so as to be "a 'model' for everyone".
Citing Jesus’ question ‘But who do you say that I am?’ the pope said that "we are called to be collaborators of God in an enterprise that is so fundamental and unique like that of bearing witness with our existence to the power of grace that transforms and the power of the Spirit who renews."
"Right now, the Lord Jesus repeats his question to each of us: ‘But who do you say that I am?’ (Mt 16:15). This is a clear and direct question, from which one cannot escape or to which remain neutral, nor delay an answer or delegate it to someone else. There is nothing inquisitorial in it; on the contrary, it is full of love! The love of our only Master, who today calls us to renew our faith in him, recognising him as the Son of God and the Lord of our lives. And the first called to renew his profession of faith is the Successor of Peter, who brings with him the responsibility of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32)."
"Let grace shape again our hearts to believe and open our mouths to make the profession of faith and obtain salvation (cf. Rom 10:10). Let us make our own the words of Peter who said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’" (Mt 16:16). Let our thoughts and eyes be fixed on Jesus Christ, the beginning and end of each activity of the Church. He is the foundation and no one can lay a different one (1 Cor 3:11). He is the ‘rock’ on which we must build. This is what Saint Augustine’s expressive words say when he wrote that the Church, agitated and shaken by the events of history, ‘falls not, because it is founded upon a rock (petra), from which Peter received his name. For petra (rock) is not derived from Peter, but Peter from petra; just as Christ is not called so from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. [...] For the Rock (Petra) was Christ; and on this foundation was Peter himself also built’ (Tractates on the Gospel of John, 124:5, PL 35, 1972)."*
"From this profession of faith comes for each of us the duty to respond to God's call. From the pastors, above all, is required to have God himself as a model who takes care of his flock. The Prophet Ezekiel describes the way God acts: He searches out the lost sheep, brings back the strays, binds the injured, and heals the sick (34:16). This behaviour is a sign of love that knows no boundaries. It is a faithful, constant, and unconditional dedication, so that his mercy may reach all the weak.
“And yet, we must not forget that Ezekiel’s prophecy starts from the observation of the deficiencies of the shepherds of Israel. Therefore, it also helps us, who are called to be pastors in the Church, to let the face of God the Good Shepherd enlighten us, purify us, transform us and return us fully renewed to our mission. That even in our workplaces we may hear, cultivate, and practice a strong pastoral sense – first of all towards the people we meet every day. Let no one feel neglected or mistreated; let everyone experience, first of all here, the loving care of the Good Shepherd."
"We are called to be collaborators of God in an enterprise that is so important and unique as that of bearing witness with our existence to the power of grace to transform and the power of the Spirit that renews. Let the Lord deliver us from every temptation that takes away from the essential part of our mission, and let us rediscover the beauty of professing faith in the Lord Jesus.
“Faithfulness to the ministry links well with the mercy which we want to experience. Indeed, in the Sacred Scriptures, faithfulness and mercy are an inseparable duo. Where one is found, so is the other; and the very presence of the Good Shepherd can be seen in their reciprocity and complementarity. The faithfulness that is required is that of acting according to the heart of Christ. As we heard from the words of the Apostle Peter, we must feed the flock with 'generous spirit' and become a 'model' for everyone. This way, ‘when the chief Shepherd is revealed,’ we shall ‘receive the unfading crown of glory,” (1 Peter, 5:4).”
* Source. Translated by John Gibb. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 7. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1888.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1701.htm.