05/02/2010, 00.00
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For Pope in Turin, the Shroud is a sign of hope

Benedict XVI visits the city for the special display of the Shroud, the cloth in which Jesus was buried in the Sepulchre. In it, “we see our own afflictions reflected in the suffering of Christ, this allows us to see his Easter. Loving each other “like Jesus loved us” is a “truly credible, eloquent and useful sign to announce to the world the coming of the Kingdom of God.” The Holy Father also mentions the marginalised and immigrants, and encourages priests, families, cultural workers, the city administration and young people to never lose hope. He prays to the Virgin Consolata, patron saint of the city.
Turin (AsiaNews) – The Shroud of Turin reminds us that the “One who was crucified, who shared our suffering . . . is the one who has risen, who wants to reunite us in his love. It is a wonderful hope, ‘strong’ and ‘solid’,” said Benedict XVI during Mass in Piazza San Carlo in Turin, which he visited today for the special display of the Shroud, the venerated burial cloth, which according to tradition wrapped the body of Jesus in the sepulchre. The special display, scheduled to last until 23 May, is expected to draw at least two million pilgrims.

The Pope told the thousands of faithful who attended the Mass that in the Shroud “we see our own afflictions reflected in the suffering of Christ: ‘Passio Christi. Passio hominis.’ For this reason, it is a sign of hope. Christ confronted the cross to stop evil and let us to see that his Easter anticipates that moment in which all our tears will be wiped away and that there will be no more death, sorrow, lament or worry.”

In greeting the Pontiff before the Eucharistic celebration, Card Severino Poletto said the Church of Turin expects faith and its mission to be renewed.

In his homily, the Pontiff said that such renewal would find the “new” commandment Jesus gave to his disciples: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another (John,15:13-24). If we love one another, Jesus is still amongst us.”

“Jesus offered himself as a model and a source of love,” he noted. “His love is boundless, universal, and capable of transforming all negative circumstances and obstacles in opportunities to progress in love.”

Benedict XVI also addressed the city’s many problems. “I am thinking especially of those who are in a situation of precariousness because of unemployment, uncertainty over the future as well as physical and moral suffering. I am thinking about families, young people, the elderly who often live alone, the marginalised and immigrants.”

“By giving us the new commandment, Jesus calls upon us to live his own love, which is a truly credible, eloquent and useful sign to announce to the world the coming of the Kingdom of God,” the Pope said. “Obviously, with only our forces we are weak and limited. In us, there is always resistance to love. In our life, so many difficulties cause, divisions, resentment and ill-will. However, the Lord promised that he would be present in our life, and enable us to give such generous and total love, which can overcome all obstacles. If we are united to Christ, we can truly love. Loving others like Jesus loved us is only made possible by the strength that is communicated in the relationship with Him, especially through the Eucharist, which makes real his loving Sacrifice that generates love.”

Benedict said, “The words of Jesus acquire . . . a special resonance for this Church, which is generous and active, starting with its priests.” Earlier, the city major had listed the saints who played a role in the social life of Turin in the 1800s and 1900s, people like John Bosco, Giuseppe Cottolengo, Francesco Faà di Bruno, Giuseppe Cafasso, Pier Giorgio Frassati, etc. During his general audience a few days ago, the Holy Father highlighted the importance for Turin of two saints, namely Leonardo Murialdo and Giuseppe Cottolengo.

The Pope directly addressed priests and the religious in order to encourage them. “Sometimes, being workers in the vineyard of the Lord can be exhausting. Tasks may multiply, demands are aplenty and so are problems. From the relationship of love, you have with God through your prayer, draw strength every day so that you can bear the prophetic announcement of salvation; refocus your existence on the Gospel; develop the real aspects of communion and brotherhood inside your presbytery, communities, and relationship with the People of God. In your ministry, bear witness to the power of love that comes from above.”

The Pontiff later urged “families to live the Christian aspects of love inside family relationships and in the simple things of everyday life, so as to be able to overcome divisions and misunderstandings.”

The Holy Father also urged those who work in the world of academia to engage “in a humble search for the Truth, certain that Truth comes to meet and seize us.” He also invited those who worked for the city administration to “work together to pursue the common good and make the city a more humane and agreeable place.” This, in turn, can show that “Christian ideas about man are not against freedom, but are in favour of a greater fulfilment that is realised only by a ‘civilisation of love’.

The Holy Father also urged young people “never give up hope”, which is based on the resurrection of Jesus. “It is the start of a number of ‘new things,” to which we participate as well. ‘New things’ are a world full of joy in which there is no more suffering or abuse of power, will-will or hatred, where there is only the love that comes from God and transforms everything.”

At the end of the Mass but before the Regina Caeli, Benedict XVI entrusted the people of Turin to the Blessed Virgin Consolata, patron of the city. “Mary, watch over families and workers. Watch over all those who have lost faith and hope. Bring comfort to the sick, to those in prison and those who suffer. Aid to Christians, support the young, the elderly and all those who are in difficulty. Mother of the Church, watch over the pastors and the entire community of believers, so that they may be the “salt and light” in society.”

“The Virgin Mary is the one who contemplated God with the human face of Jesus,” the Pope said. “She saw him right after his birth, when, in swaddling clothes, he was lying in the manger. She saw him right after his death, when, taken down from the cross, he was covered in a shroud and then moved to the sepulchre. The image of her martyred son was impressed in her mind, but that image was then transfigured by the light of the Resurrection. Hence, the mystery of the face of Christ was preserved in Mary’s heart, mystery of death and glory. From her, we can always learn how to look upon Jesus with love and faith, and recognise in that face the Face of God.”

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