S?bado, 02 de noviembre de 2013

Homilía de la celebración eucarística que ha presidido el Cardenal Fernando Filoni, Prefecto de la Congregación para la Evangelización de los Pueblos, en la mañana del día 31 de Octubre en la Catedral de Lahore, en la que estaban también presentes obispos, sacerdotes, religiosos y religiosas, seminaristas, catequistas y representantes de la comunidad diocesana. (Fides)


Cathedral of the Diocese of Lahore, Pakistan - October 31, 2013 


Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, in the Priesthood, and all of you, my brothers and sisters in the Faith we share in Christ: 

It is with immense pleasure that I can meet with you today; I would say that, through you, I meet the entire Church of our beloved Country! May I also say that, just as a father desires to see his sons and daughters who are far away, I too, with the same desire, come to be with you.  You know well that our Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has a particular attention and a genuine affection for you, sharing your joys and your sufferings, and accompanying you with our prayers and encouragement.  It is my desire that these sentiments of mine should reach all of our brothers and sisters in the Faith, and that they never have the sense of being left alone.  You are the most noble part - given especially the circumstances and the difficulties -  of the Universal Church, like other communities in the world that every day courageously bear witness to their own faith in Christ and in the Church. 

To celebrate this Holy Mass with you means that we place Christ the Redeemer, Who indeed is the Source of our Faith, at the center of our prayer.  The beautiful words of St. Paul to the Romans in the first reading today bring this to mind: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?” (Romans, 8:31-32).  Thus, our Faith in God is Christological, because it is Christ Who brings us to the Father and to knowledge of Himself.  The entire Church lives this dimension of the Faith, and we, being a part of her, share in the fullness of her life. 

In every circumstance and on every occasion, Christ is our point of reference: we must never forget this, and we must always focus our eyes upon and turn our hearts and minds to Christ.  This, in fact, is what St. Paul teaches us when he says: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans, 8:35).  Even amidst hardships and in the throes of persecutions, the Apostle teaches us that, keeping our eyes fixed on Christ, we “conquer overwhelmingly” (Romans, 8:37).  At the same time, though, I wish, with these words, to reinforce your perseverance and to encourage you to always carry on in goodness and in peace, as St. Francis instructed in his wonderful greeting of “Pax et bonum” (“Peace and good”). 

Being fully Christian and being fully Pakistani are not contradictory perspectives.  In this Land of many ethnic nationalities, of multiple cultural and linguistic expressions, where Islam is the predominant religion, the Christian is at home, and finds not opposition, but richness of life in such diversity; uniformity, in fact, impoverishes, while diversity motivates.  This concept can help us and aid us in comprehending ourselves, and lead to understanding, having always in itself that basis in truth that comes from Christ which never closes its own door or its heart to those who are different or diverse from itself, not even to an enemy: “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). 

In the middle of the 1950’s, Father James Monchanin, who was originally from France and spent a number of years in India, conveyed to a few friends in Europe: Pray that we can preserve this charity, this ‘eschatological patience’ toward every different religion, culture, and race, because, as Christians we are called and invited to everywhere fulfill the Mystery of the Incarnation of Christ, adding “…so that His (Christ’s) Incarnation might be complete”.  The dream was to be salt and light in every circumstance and place. Salt is no substitute for food, but it gives it taste; neither does the light change the reality that it illumines.  Having within ourselves a clear vision helps us to comprehend your vocation, the reason for your being here, your work, and the mission entrusted to you by Divine Providence.  As Bishops, men and women religious, priests, seminarians, catechists, and lay faithful charged with the life of the Church, you therefore can grasp the sense of your vocation, your office, and your mission, which can be summarized in these meaningful words: peace, understanding, fidelity, dialogue, charity, pardon, mercy, and salvation. 

Allow me to conclude my thoughts briefly, but with deep affection and closeness, with a word of encouragement and appreciation from the words of Psalm 108 (109), which is a prayer to Almighty God of extraordinary beauty: “But you, Lord…deal kindly with me for your name’s sake…Help me, Lord, my God; save me in your mercy.  Make them know this is your hand…” (Ps. 109: 21, 26-27).  Know that the hand of the Lord that protects you is with you each day, and that Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of Pakistan, will never withhold from you her maternal protection.

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