Remain Ever Hopeful Because of Christ: Pope's Visit to Lebanon and His Closing Homily
We present the full text of Pope Benedict's Homily on Sunday in Beirut
The significance of the Holy Father's apostolic visit to Lebanon is very clear. Its impact will be felt in the months ahead. The courage demonstrated by his his visit, in the face of intense danger, as well as the content of his messages, are prophetic and historic. Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will the world over should pray that the message and the mission of this great Christian Leader, given in such an urgent hour in history, be heard and bear the fruit so desperately needed.
Pope Benedict XVI attends the St. Paul basilic in Beirut
BEIRUT, Lebanon (Catholic Online) - While the world watched the dramatic events occurring in Egypt and throughout the Middle East at the end of the last week, the successor of the Apostle Peter, Pope Benedict XVI, traveled to Lebanon as a Messenger of peace. On the final day of his three day apostolic visit, he presided over the Holy Mass at the Beirut Waterfront.
Throughout this entire apostolic visit, this brave Pope spoke with both courage and compassion to massive crowds at every venue. He called all of the people of the Middle East to work together to build a culture of peace. He especially encouraged the Christians in these lands, who have suffered increasing hostilites and endured intense persecution, by reminding them that their presence in the Holy Land is ancient, vital - and that they have a right to be there.
However, he went beyond that, he encouraged all of them - and in a particular way the young - to stay in the Middle East, remain faithful and contribute to the solution as the escalating violence rages all around them. In short, he called them to heroic virtue and sacrifical service to the Lord.He called them to mission.
During the three days, the Pope pointed repeatedly to the importance of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation which was released and signed upon his arrival. It is on the Communion and Witness of the Church in the Middle East.It can be read in its entirety here. Pope Benedict XVI emphasized his conviction that this Apostolic Exhortation, and its recommendations for the future, offers a framework for the vital work of peace which lies ahead but it will require the faithful, and all who desire peace, to work toward those goals. The significance of the Holy Father's apostolic visit to Lebanon is very clear. Its impact will be felt in the months ahead.
The courage demonstrated by his his visit, in the face of intense danger, as well as the content of his messages, are prophetic and historic. Catholics, other Christians, other people of faith and all people of good will the world over should pray that the message and the mission of this great Christian Leader, given in such an urgent hour in history, be heard and bear the fruit so desperately needed. Below we present the full text of Pope Benedict's Homily on Sunday in Beirut:
Sunday 16 September 2012, Homilu
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
"Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!" (Eph 1:3). Blessed be God on this day when I have the joy of being here with you, in Lebanon, to consign to the Bishops of the region my Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente! I offer heartfelt thanks to His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Raď for his kind words of welcome. I greet the other Patriarchs and Bishops of the Eastern Churches, the Latin Bishops of the neighbouring regions, and the Cardinals and Bishops who have come from other countries.
I greet all of you with great affection, dear brothers and sisters from Lebanon and from throughout this beloved region of the Middle East, as you join with the Successor of Peter in celebrating Jesus Christ crucified, dead and risen. My respectful greeting goes also to the President of the Republic, to the Lebanese authorities, and to the leaders and followers of the other religious traditions who have elected to be present this morning.
On this Sunday when the Gospel asks us about the true identity of Jesus, we find ourselves transported with the disciples to the road leading to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. Jesus asks them: "Who do you say that I am?" (Mk 8:29). The moment he chose to ask this question is not insignificant. Jesus was facing a decisive turning-point in his life.
He was going up to Jerusalem, to the place where the central events of our salvation would take place: his crucifixion and resurrection. In Jerusalem too, following these events, the Church would be born. And at this decisive moment, Jesus first asks his disciples: "Who do men say that I am?" (Mk 8:27). They give very different answers: John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets!
Today, as down the centuries, those who encounter Jesus along their own way give their own answers. These are approaches which can be helpful in finding the way to truth. But while not necessarily false, they remain insufficient, for they do not go to the heart of who Jesus is. Only those willing to follow him on his path, to live in fellowship with him in the community of his disciples, can truly know who he is. Finally, Peter, who had dwelt with Jesus for some time, gives his answer: "You are the Christ" (Mk 8:29).
It is the right answer, of ...
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