Pope Francis presided over Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica on Sunday, one day after 19 bishops were added to the college of cardinals. Here is an excerpt from his homily.
Dear brother Cardinals, the Lord Jesus and mother Church ask us to witness with greater zeal and ardor to these ways of being holy. It is exactly in this greater self-gift, freely offered, that the holiness of a Cardinal consists. We love, therefore, those who are hostile to us; we bless those who speak ill of us; we greet with a smile those who may not deserve it. We do not aim to assert ourselves; we oppose arrogance with meekness; we forget the humiliations that we have endured. May we always allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit of Christ, who sacrificed himself on the Cross so that we could be “channels” through which his charity might flow. This is the attitude of a Cardinal, this is how he acts. A Cardinal enters the Church of Rome, not a royal court. May all of us avoid, and help others to avoid, habits and ways of acting typical of a court: intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism and preferences. May our language be that of the Gospel: “yes when we mean yes; no when we mean no”; may our attitudes be those of the Beatitudes, and our way be that of holiness.
The Holy Spirit also speaks to us today through the words of Saint Paul: “You are God’s temple … God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are” (1 Cor 3:16-17). In this temple, which we are, an existential liturgy is being celebrated: that of goodness, forgiveness, service; in a word, the liturgy of love. This temple of ours is defiled if we neglect our duties towards our neighbor. Whenever the least of our brothers and sisters finds a place in our hearts, it is God himself who finds a place there. When that brother or sister is shut out, it is God himself who is not being welcomed. A heart without love is like a deconsecrated church, a building withdrawn from God’s service and given over to another use.
Dear brother Cardinals, may we remain united in Christ and among ourselves! I ask you to remain close to me, with your prayers, your advice and your help. And I ask all of you, bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, and laity, together to implore the Holy Spirit, that the College of Cardinals may always be ever more fervent in pastoral charity and filled with holiness, in order to serve the Gospel and to help the Church radiate Christ’s love in our world.
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An astute Pray Tell reader writes in with an interesting detail on the altar candles:
I just managed to catch the end of the Pope’s Sunday Mass. Someone has moved the central candlestick (the one that says “I have jurisdiction here”) to the side, leaving what appears to be a much smaller-than-before crucifix alone in the middle, with three candles grouped in one corner, and four in the other . . .
The reader wonders what these people think about the change. We all can wonder what happened to the “jurisdiction candle” on the Vatican basilica altar today.