Monday, September 1, 2008

Sunday's Angelus Message

You've probably heard that former French/Colombian hostage Ingrid Betancourt had a twenty minute audience with Pope Benedict at Castelgandolfo today where she was able to thank him for his prayers and calls for her release while she was being held captive by the Marxist guerrilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. It was there at the summer papal residence south of Rome where Betancourt told the Pope that it was her faith that got her through the six years spent in primitive jungle conditions at the hands of the terrorists.

That may be the "biggest" reported story connected to the pope this week; however, the one I think may be the most important coming from Castel Gandolfo happened yesterday.

At Sunday's Angelus address Pope Benedict discussed yesterday's gospel reading(Mt 16:21-27) in which Peter rashly answered Jesus' assertion
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised
The Pontiff said that Peter's faith was "still immature and too much influenced by the 'mentality of this world."

The Holy Father noted that at the time the incident occurred, "It is evident that the Master and the disciple follow two opposed ways of thinking. Peter, according to a human logic, is convinced that God would never allow his Son to end his mission dying on the cross. Jesus, on the contrary, knows that the Father, in his great love for men, sent him to give his life for them, and if this means the passion and the cross, it is right that such should happen."

"If to save us the Son of God had to suffer and die crucified, it certainly was not because of a cruel design of the heavenly Father."

"The cause of it is the gravity of the sickness of which he must cure us: an evil so serious and deadly that it will require all of his blood. In fact, it is with his death and resurrection that Jesus defeated sin and death, reestablishing the lordship of God."

"But the battle is not over. Evil exists and resists in every generation, even in our own. What are the horrors of war, violence visited on the innocent, the misery and injustice that persecutes the weak, if not the opposition of evil to the Kingdom of God? And how does one respond to such evil if not with the unarmed love that defeats hatred, life that does not fear death?"

"This is the mysterious power that Jesus used at the cost of not being understood and of being abandoned by many of his followers."

"Dear brothers and sisters, to complete the work of salvation, the Redeemer continues to draw to himself and his mission men and women who are ready to take up the cross and follow him. Just as with Christ, it is not 'optional' for Christians to take up the cross; it is rather a mission to be embraced out of love."

"In our present world," he concluded, "where the forces that divide and destroy seem to prevail, Christ does not cease to propose his clear invitation to all: Whosoever wants to be my disciple, he must renounce his selfishness and carry the cross with me."

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