Vatican City, May 23, 2013 / 04:07 pm (CNA/EWTN News
).- Pope Francis reflected May 23 on Jesus Christ's exhortation to be “salt of the earth,” warning that Christians who do not live their faith become “flavorless salt” and are fit to be museum pieces.
The pontiff said that God gives Christians the “salt” of faith, hope and charity. This salt should not be hoarded “because if the salt is preserved in a bottle it does not do anything: it is good for nothing.”
“We can show the salt: this is my salt – and how lovely it is! This is the salt that I received in Baptism, this is what I received in Confirmation, this is what I received in catechesis,” he said. “But look: museum-piece Christians! A salt without flavor, a salt that does nothing.”
The Pope’s comments came in his homily during morning Mass at the chapel of St. Martha's residence in the Vatican, Vatican Radio reports. The day’s gospel reading, from the Gospel of Mark’s ninth chapter, contains Jesus’ question to his disciples: “if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor?”
Pope Francis said that faith preached with this salt helps others receive it according to their own individual circumstances, as when it is used judiciously on food.
“Each with his own peculiarities receives the salt and becomes better,” he added. “The Christian originality is not a uniformity! It takes each one as he is, with his own personality, with his own characteristics, his culture – and leaves him with that, because it is a treasure.”
He said this “salt” also gives something more. “It gives flavor!” he said. “This Christian originality is so beautiful.”
He said those who want everything to be salted in the same way risk a situation where a cook throws in too much salt.
“One tastes only salt and not the meal,” he said. The Christian originality is this: each as he is, with the gifts the Lord has given him.”
He urged Christians to “get out there with the message, to get out there with this richness that we have in salt, and give it to others.”
The Pope said Christians may give this salt both in service to others and in service to God. The “salt” of faith also keeps its flavor through preaching, prayer and adoration.
“With the worship of the Lord I go beyond myself to the Lord, and with the proclamation of the Gospel I go out of myself to give the message,” he said.
He repeatedly encouraged Christians to share their faith.
“Salt makes sense when you (use) it in order to make things more tasty,” he said. “The salt that we have received is to be given out, to be given away, to spice things up. Otherwise, it becomes bland and useless.”
He said Christians should pray that God not let them become “Christians with flavorless salt that stays closed in the bottle.”
(Vatican Radio) On Thursday evening, Pope Francis joined the Bishops of Italy as they gathered in Saint Peter’s Basilica for their 65 th General Assembly. The gathering began with opening remarks by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, followed by the Liturgy of the Word. Pope Francis then offered a brief meditation on the readings. At the conclusion of the evening’s ceremonies, Pope Francis led the Bishops in a solemn Profession of Faith. Below, please find the complete translation of Pope Francis’ remarks: Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, The readings we have heard make us thing. They have made me think a great deal. I have made something like a meditation. For us bishops, and first of all for me, a bishop like you, I share it with you. It is significant - and I am particularly happy - that our first meeting should be held right here in the place that preserves not only the tomb of Peter, but also the living memory of his witness of faith, of his service to the truth, and of the gift he gave of himself – to the point of martyrdom – for the Gospel and for the Church. This evening this altar of the Confession becomes our Lake of Tiberias, on the shores of which we listen to the wonderful dialogue between Jesus and Peter, with the question addressed to the Apostle, but which should resound in our own hearts, the hearts of bishops. “Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?” (Cf. Jn 21:15 ff) The question is addressed to a man who, despite his solemn declaration, was overcome by fear and went back on his word. “Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?” The question is addressed to me and to each one of you, to all of us: if we avoid reacting too hastily and superficially, it encourages us to look within, to enter into ourselves. “Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?” He who searches hearts (cf. Rom 8:27) makes himself a beggar of love, and questions us on the only really essential question, the premise and condition for pastoring his sheep, his lambs, his Church. Every ministry is based on this intimacy with the Lord; to live in him is the measure of our ecclesial service, which is expressed in an openness to obedience, to emptying of self, as we heard in the Letter to the Philippians, to total giving (cf. Phil 2:6-11). Moreover, the consequence of loving the Lord is giving everything - absolutely everything, even one’s very life - for Him: this is what must distinguish our pastoral ministry; it is the litmus test that shows how profoundly we have embraced the gift received in response to the call of Jesus, and how we are joined to the people and the communities that have been entrusted to us. We are not expressions of a structure or an organizational need: even with the service of our authority we are called to be a sign of the presence and action of the Risen Lord, and so, to build up the community in fraternal charity. Not that this is taken for granted: even the greatest love, in fact, when it is not continuously fed, fades and goes out. Not without reason the Apostle Paul warns: “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son”(Acts 20:28). The lack of vigilance - we know – makes the Pastor lukewarm; he becomes distracted, forgetful and even impatient; it seduces him with the prospect of a career, the lure of money, and the compromises with the spirit of the world; it makes him lazy, turning him into a functionary, a cleric worried more about himself, about organisations and structures, than about the true good of the People of God. He runs the risk, then, like the Apostle Peter, of denying the Lord, even if he is present to us and speaks in His name; the holiness of the hierarchy of Mother Church is obscured, making it less fertile. Who are we, Brothers, before God? What are our challenges? We all have so many, each one of us knows his own. What is God saying to us through them? What are we relying on to overcome them? As it was for Peter, the insistent and heartfelt question of Jesus can leave us saddened and may leave us more aware of the weakness of our freedom, beset as it is by a thousand internal and external constraints, which often cause confusion, frustration, even disbelief. These are certainly not the feelings and attitudes that the Lord intends to arouse; rather, the Enemy, the Devil, takes advantage of them to isolate us in bitterness, in complaints, and in discouragement. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, does not humiliate us or abandon us to remorse: in Him, the tenderness of the Father speaks, He who comforts and raises up; He who makes us pass from the disintegration of shame – because shame surely causes us to disintegrate – to the fabric of trust; who restores courage, recommits responsibility, and consigns us to the mission. Peter, purified by the fire of forgiveness, can humbly say, “Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you” (Jn 21:17). I am sure we can all say this from the heart. In this Peter, purified, in his first letter exhorts us to feed “the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock”(1 Peter 5,2-3). Yes, to be pastors means to believe every day in the grace and strength that comes to us from the Lord, despite our weakness, and to fully assume the responsibility of walking in front of the flock, freed from the burdens that hinder a healthy apostolic swiftness, and without hesitation in leading, to make our voice recognizable both to those who have embraced the faith, but also to those who are “not of this fold” (John 10:16): we are called to make our own the dream of God, whose house knows no exclusion of persons or nations, as Isaiah prophetically announced in the First Reading (cf. Is 2:2-5). Therefore, being pastors also means to be ready to walk in the midst of and behind the flock: capable of listening to the silent story of the suffering and bearing up the steps of those who are afraid of not succeeding; careful to raise up, to reassure, and inspire hope. By sharing with the humble our faith always comes out strengthened: let us put aside, therefore, any form of arrogance, to incline ourselves toward those the Lord has entrusted to our care. Among these, a special place is reserved for our priests: especially for them, our hearts, our hands, and our doors remain open at all times. They are the first faithful we bishops have, our priests. Let us love them! Let us love them from the heart! They are our sons and our brothers. Dear brothers, the profession of faith that we now renew together is not a formal act, but is a renewal of our response to the “Follow Me” with which the Gospel of John concludes (21:19): allow your own life to unfold according to the project of God, committing your whole self to the Lord Jesus. From here springs that discernment that recognises and takes on the thoughts, the expectations, and the needs of the men of our time. With this in mind, I sincerely thank each of you for your service, for your love for the Church and the Mother, and here, I place you, and I place myself, too, under the mantle of Mary, Our Mother. Mother of the silence that preserves the mystery of God, deliver us from the idolatry of the present, to which those who forget are condemned. Purify the eyes of pastors with the balm of memory: that we might return to the freshness of the beginning, for a praying and penitent Church. Mother of the beauty that blossoms from fidelity to daily work, remove us from the torpor of laziness, of pettiness, and defeatism. Cloak Pastors with that compassion that unifies and integrates: that we might discover the joy of a humble and fraternal servant Church. Mother of the tenderness which enfolds in patience and mercy, help us burn away the sadness, impatience, and rigidity of those who have not known what it means to belong. Intercede with your Son that our hands, our feet and our hearts may be swift: that we may build the Church with the truth in charity. Mother, we will be the People of God, on pilgrimage towards the Kingdom. Amen....
Celebrating the Liturgy of the Word with Italian Bishops, Francis outlines how the pastors of souls ought to be. They must be men capable of "listening to the silent stories of those who suffer, and help those who are afraid of not making it." We must also lift, reassure and inspire hope by leading our "life in accordance with God's plan, and fully commit ourselves to the Lord Jesus. From this, comes the discernment that recognises and takes on the thoughts, expectations, and needs of the people of our times."
The celebration is set for tomorrow morning at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The Pope invited Chinese priests, men and women religious, as well as young people to celebrate World Day of Prayer for the Church in China and the feast of Our Lady of Sheshan.
Lava flow forced islanders to abandon their homes in February. A medical team that visited them complains that they live in a situation of neglect and distress. The Central government and local authorities have failed to help the refugees. For a Jakarta doctor, eating twice a day is "a luxury" for them.
In one month, dozens of cases of assaults, stabbings and even beheadings for petty reasons. University of Hong Kong Researcher points to school system imprinted on directives of the Communist Party and moral education of young people. Mao’s society has taught young people that human life is worthless.
(Vatican Radio) That Christians might spread the spiritual salt of faith, hope and charity: this was Pope Francis’ exhortation at Mass Thursday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican. The Pope warned against the risk of becoming insipid, “Museum-piece Christians.” In his homily, Pope Francis focused on the savour that Christians are called to give to their own lives and to others’. The Holy Father said that salt the Lord gives us is the salt of faith, hope and charity. But, he warned, we must be careful that this salt, which is given to us by the certainty that Jesus died and rose again to save us, “does not lose its flavour, does not lose its strength.” This salt, he continued, “is not for keeping, because if the salt is preserved in a bottle it does not do anything: it is good for nothing”: “ Salt makes sense when you [use] it in order to make things more tasty. I also consider that salt stored in the bottle, with moisture, loses strength and is rendered useless. The salt that we have received is to be given out, to be given away, [in order] to spice things up: otherwise, it becomes bland and useless. We must ask the Lord not to [let us] become Christians with flavour-less salt, with salt that stays closed in the bottle. Salt also has another special feature: when salt is used well, one does not notice the taste of salt. The savour of salt - it cannot be perceived! What one tastes is the flavour of the food: salt helps improve the flavor of the meal. ” “When we preach faith, with this salt,” said Pope Francis, “those who receive the proclamation, receive it each according to his peculiarity, as [happens when salt is used judiciously] on food.” So, “Each with his own peculiarities receives the salt and becomes better [for it].” The Holy Father went on to explain that the “originality” that Christian faith brings is therefore not something uniform: “ The Christian originality is not a uniformity! It takes each one as he is, with his own personality, with his own characteristics, his culture – and leaves him with that, because it is a treasure. However, it gives one something more: it gives flavour! This Christian originality is so beautiful, because when we want to make a uniformity - all salted in the same way - things will be like when the woman throws in too much salt and one tastes only salt and not the meal. The Christian originality is this: each is as he is, with the gifts the Lord has given him. ” “This,” the Pope continued, “is the salt that we have to give.” A salt that is “not to be kept, but to be given,” – and this, he said, “means a little [bit] of transcendence”: “To get out there with the message, to get out there with this richness that we have in salt, and give it to others.” On the other hand, he pointed out, there are two “ways out” for the salt to take, so that it does not spoil. First: to give the salt “in the service of meals, service to others, to serve the people.” Second: “transcendence toward the author of the salt, the creator.” The salt, he reiterated, "in order to keep its flavour, has need not only of being given through preaching,” but, “also needs the other transcendence, of prayer, of adoration”: “ In this way is the salt conserved, [in this way it keeps] its flavor. With the worship of the Lord I go beyond myself to the Lord, and with the proclamation of the Gospel I go out of myself to give the message. If we do not do this, however - these two things, these two transcendences, to give the salt - the salt will remain in the bottle, and we will become ‘museum-piece Christians’. We can show the salt: this is my salt - and how lovely it is! This is the salt that I received in Baptism, this is what I received in Confirmation, this is what I received in catechesis - But look: museum-piece Christians! A salt without flavor, a salt that does nothing. ” Cardinal Angelo Sodano and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri concelebrated, The Mass was attended by a group of priests and lay collaborators from the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Listen : ...
With the help of the Indian High Commission, the Sri Lankan government continues its three-year plan to re-house IDPs. The Indian High Commissioner and Sri Lanka's Economic Development Minister launch the project, "an unprecedented humanitarian action," in the east of the island.
During yesterday's protest in Kabul, protesters called for the repeal of a decree that defines domestic violence as a crime, bans child and forced marriages and says that rape victims cannot be prosecuted for adultery. It also outlaws "ba'ad", the traditional practice of exchanging women or girls to settle disputes or pay debts.
The Party of God confirms it will fight "across Syria." Clashes in Tripoli kill a Lebanese soldier. Hariri accuses Hizbollah of replicating "Israeli crimes" against "Lebanon and its people". Obama calls Suleiman. Saudi Crown Prince visits Turkey.
Vatican City, 23 May 2013 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience His excellency Mr. Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena, president of the Republic of El Salvador. President Funes then met with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
During the cordial talks, satisfaction was express for the good relations between the Holy See and the nation of El Salvador. In particular, Servant of God Archbishop Oscar Amulfo Romero y Galdamez of San Salvador was spoken of and the importance of his witness for the entire nation.
Appreciation was also expressed for the contribution that the Church offers for the reconciliation and consolidation of peace, as well as in the areas of charity, education, and the eradication of poverty and organized crime. Some ethical issues such as the defence of human life, marriage, and the family were also discussed....
Hundreds of people attended today's Mass in the Church of the Assumption. "Extremist threats do not scare us," clergyman says. "We shall pursue our mission even more." Muslims and Hindus express their solidarity.
An online petition calls for U.S. intervention to stop a "bloody tradition." The promoters state: no "politics" motives behind the appeal. For the defenders of tradition, dog meat cures disease and improves sexual performance in men. In recent days, a rapper has spoken out against the festival.
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has invited Catholics around the world to pray on Friday especially for the Church in China. Noting that May 24th marks the feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, who is venerated in a special way at the shrine of Sheshan near Shanghai, the Pope at his general audience this week prayed that Chinese Catholics would “continue to believe, hope, love” and never be afraid to speak about their faith. Quoting from a prayer written especially for the Church in China by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, Pope Francis asked Our Lady to support Catholics there and to help the Church grow in faithfulness to the Successor of Peter and in service to all the Chinese people. Fr Kevin O’Neill is a missionary in Hong Kong who has made many visits to mainland China. He talked to Philippa Hitchen about the growth of the Church there and the challenges facing Catholics in the country today..... Listen: ...
There are two “outlets” to prevent this salt from growing stale. Firstly: using this salt “at meals, in the service of others, to serve people". Second, "transcendence toward the author of this salt, the Creator". "Christian originality is not a uniformity! It takes us all as we are, each with our own personality, characteristics, culture and leaves us with that, because it is a treasure. "
In its quarterly report, the UN says Tehran has accelerated the installation of centrifuges at Natanz and is making further progress in the construction of a reactor at Arak. The West fears it could produce plutonium and enriched uranium, necessary for military purposes.
A candlelight vigil yesterday in Amman. Initiative was attended by hundreds of people. The march is a message of solidarity with the Patriarchate of Antioch of the Greek-Orthodox and the Syrian Orthodox Church. The kidnap of Msgr. Yohanna Ibrahim and Msgr. Boulos Yaziji afflicts not only Christians, but also secular society and Muslim.
The initiative aims to show solidarity with Filipinos impacted by controversy over a naval incident between Manila and Taipei on May 9 last. Immigrants contribute to social development and co-operate in the protection of children and the elderly. Student: The person who shot is responsible, not "the honest workers here."
A bomb aboard a rickshaw targets a security forces convoy. The bomb was made up of more than 100 kg of explosives. Meanwhile, the Chinese premier arrives in Pakistan for a two-day official visit. Objective: To strengthen ties, enhance trade and help solve the energy crisis.
Vatican City, May 22, 2013 / 04:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News
).- Every human person despite his or her beliefs can do good, and a sharing in good works is the prime place for encounter among those who disagree, Pope Francis said at his Mass today.
“The Lord created us in his image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and he does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and avoid evil. All of us,” the Pope taught in his homily May 22 at St. Martha's residence in the Vatican.
“We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
The Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, and attended by employees of the Vatican's governorate, or executive branch.
During his homily, the Bishop of Rome reflected on Christ's response to his disciples, who thought that anyone outside their group could not do good.
“If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” This viewpoint, Pope Francis said, “was wrong...Jesus broadens the horizon.”
He went on to explain that all human persons are created in the image of God, who is goodness himself and the source of goodness.
“But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.' Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him.”
The pontiff called this view, that only Catholics can do good, an intolerance and a “closing off” that can lead to war and blasphemy. Blasphemy, he explained, includes “killing in the name of God.”
He emphasized the universality of Christ's saving act on the cross as a compliment to the universal call to holiness, regardless of religious belief.
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone.”
“Even the atheists. Everyone,” Pope Francis stressed.
He said that the saving blood of Christ “makes us children of God of the first class. We are created children in the likeness of God and the blood of Christ has redeemed us all. And we all have a duty to do good.”
The Pope said that because to do good is inscribed on the human heart and does not derive from creeds, “it is an identity card that our Father has given to all of us, because he has made us in his image and likeness. And he does good, always.”
Similarly, doing good “is a duty” for all people. The universal commandment to do good, he said, “is a beautiful path towards peace.”
“If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much.”
Noting the memorial of Saint Rita of Cascia, he concluded saying, “let us ask of her this grace, this grace that all, all, all people would do good and that we would encounter one another in this work.”