Viernes, 04 de noviembre de 2016

Palabras pronunciadas por el Card. Fernando Filoni en su homilia durante la Misa que ha presidido en la Catedral de la capital de Malawi, Lilongwe, en la tarde de ayer, jueves 3 de noviembre, primer momento de su visita pastoral en el país africano (Fides 03/11/2016).

Visit of His Eminence Card. Filoni to Malawi

3-7 November 2016

Homily at Maula Cathedral, Lilongwe, Malawi 

Thursday, 3 November 2016Thursday of the Thirty-First Week in O.T. 

The Joy and Mission of Mercy 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

As our Holy Father’s Special Envoy on the occasion of the Consecration of the Cathedral in Karonga and as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, I am truly honored to be with you in this Cathedral here in Lilongwe. Indeed it is the Holy Father himself who, through me, comes in a certain way to your beloved country and Archdiocese. I would like to extend a personal greeting to His Excellency, the Most Rev. Tarcisius Ziyaye, Archbishop of Lilongwe, along with a word of gratitude for the cordial welcome, hospitality and dedicated leadership of this local Church. I would also like to express my appreciation to His Excellency, the Most Rev. Julio Murat, Apostolic Nuncio to Malawi, for organizing this visit.

My time in Malawi affords me the opportunity to draw near to the local Church and to meet with her Bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and lay faithful. I thank you each of you for your tireless efforts in building up the Church and society here in Malawi, and I would like to convey to all of you the personal greeting and Apostolic Blessing of His Holiness Pope Francis. I look forward to meeting you, to listening to you and to speaking with you in order to understand more deeply your joys and strengths, as well as your struggles. At this time it is a joy for me to pray with you, as we unite our hearts and our voices in this solemn liturgy, in which we celebrate the Mysteries of our salvation and receive, once again, the merciful Love of God.

In today’s Gospel we are presented with the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin. Through these stories, along with the parable that follows, that of the Merciful Father and Prodigal Son, Jesus helps us to understand God’s attitude toward sinners. Our Holy Father Pope Francis recently reminded us that “God the Father is the first one to have a welcoming and merciful attitude toward sinners.”[1] This is presented in stark contrast to those who were complaining about the fact that Jesus welcomed sinners and ate with them (cf. v. 2).

In the first parable, we hear about the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to go in search of the one that is lost. In the second parable, Jesus speaks of the woman who, “having ten coins and losing one,” goes in search of the lost coin, “sweeping the house and searching carefully until she finds it” (v. 8). With these parables, “Jesus presents to us the true face of God, a God with open arms, a God who deals with sinners with tenderness and compassion.”[2] He shows us the face of a God who is willing to go to the ends of the earth and back in search of those who are lost, those who are distanced from the Lord. Pope Francis also reminds us that God “doesn’t stop halfway on the path of salvation.”[3] Instead, “God…goes all out, all the way to save even just one person.”[4]

This awareness of God’s merciful love should bring about the following responses in us who receive it: joy and missionary zeal. Jesus himself in today’s Gospel says, “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance” (v. 7). This means that every time the Gospel is proclaimed and the work of evangelization is carried out there is a celebration going on in heaven.[5] This is cause for us to rejoice, since heaven itself is rejoicing.

The joy of God’s Mercy should motivate us to want to share what we have received. We see in today’s Gospel parables a joy that is “so uncontainable that it must be shared with friends and neighbors.”[6] A true Christian has a missionary zeal motivating him to labor such that no one should be lost.[7] We are called by Jesus to be joyfully zealous in going out in search of those in need of God’s love and mercy. 

My dear brothers and sisters, as this Year of Mercy draws to a close, I earnestly hope that, after having rediscovered the generous embrace of the Father’s love, you will be ever more eager to share that same Mercy with your families, friends and all those you meet, especially those who are lukewarm or have not yet encountered Our Lord Jesus Christ. I urge you to never forget that, as St. Paul reminded us today, “the supreme good” is “knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philemon 3:8). May this visit encourage you to carry on the good work of evangelization with ever-renewed fervor and dedication, helping others to seek and find the Supreme Good, Jesus Christ. And may Our Lady and the great African Saints continue to guide you, protect you and intercede for you.

[1]  Pope Francis, Angelus, Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 11 September 2016.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Pope Francis, “Meditazione mattutina nella cappella della Domus Sanctae Marthae”, Dio va sempre al limite, 6 novembre 2014.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Cf. Pope Francis, Angelus, 11 September 2016.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Cf. Pope Francis, “Meditazione…Dio va sempre al limite, 6 November 2014.

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