Monday, March 17, 2008

The Pope on Iraq and his Palm Sunday homily

I was hoping to post transcripts, but no luck. The news service Zenit has two articles covering the Pope's call for peace in Iraq and the Pope's Palm Sunday homily.

The Pope's remarks on Iraq:

"At the end of this solemn celebration in which we have meditated on Christ's Passion," the Holy Father said today: "I would like to recall the late Chaldean archbishop of Mosul, Monsignor Paulos Faraj Rahho, who tragically died a few days ago.

"His beautiful witness of fidelity to Christ, to the Church and his people, whom he did not want to abandon despite numerous threats, moves me to cry out forcefully and with distress: Enough with the bloodshed, enough with the violence, enough with the hatred in Iraq!"

Lift up your heads

The Holy Father went on to plea for an end to the upheaval caused by the war in Iraq, which began five years ago this week.

He said: "And at the same time I make an appeal to the Iraqi people, who for five years have endured the consequences of a war that has provoked upheaval in its civil and social life: Beloved Iraqi people, lift up your heads and let it be you yourselves who, in the first place, rebuild your national life!

"May reconciliation, forgiveness, justice and respect for the civil coexistence of tribes, ethnic groups and religious groups be the solidary way to peace in the name of God!"


from the Pope's Palm Sunday homily:

Benedict XVI said that Christ's zeal for the temple should lead Christians of today to reflect: "Is our faith pure and open enough that, beginning from it, the 'pagans' -- the persons today who are seeking and have their questions -- can also intuit the light of the one God, can associate themselves with our prayer in the atriums of faith and by their seeking perhaps become worshippers?

"Does the awareness that greed is idolatry also reach our heart and our life practices? Do we not perhaps also allow idols to enter even into the world of our faith? Are we disposed to let the Lord purify us again and again, allowing him to chase out of us and the Church what is contrary to him?"

The Holy Father went on to say Christ's action in the temple shows that "a new moment in history has been foretold."

"The time in which animals were sacrificed to God has ended. Animal sacrifice had always been a miserable substitution, a gesture of nostalgia for the true way of worshiping God. [...] The body of Christ, Christ himself, enters to take the place of the bloody sacrifices and the food offerings. Only the 'love to the end,' only the love for men for which he gives himself totally to God, this is the true worship, the true sacrifice. Worshipping in spirit and truth means worshiping in communion with him who is truth; worshipping in the communion of his body, in which the Holy Spirit unites us."

"The fact that Jesus now chases out the merchants does not only impede abuse, but indicates the new action of God," the Holy Father continued. "The new temple is formed: Jesus Christ himself, in whom God's love comes down to men. He, in his life, is the new and living temple. He, who passed through the cross and is risen, is the living space of spirit and life in which the right worship is realized. Thus, the purification of the temple, as the culmination of Jesus' solemn entry into Jerusalem, is the sign both of the incumbent destruction of the building and the promise of the new temple; the promise of the kingdom of reconciliation and love that, in the communion with Christ, is established beyond every frontier.

"To the trafficking in animals and the money exchange, Jesus opposes his goodness that makes well again. It is the true purification of the temple. He does not come as a destroyer; he does not come with the sword of the revolutionary.

"He comes with the gift of healing. He dedicates himself to those who because of their infirmities have been pushed to the end of their life and to the margins of society. Jesus reveals God as he who loves, and his power as the power of love. And thus he says to us what will always be a part of the true worship of God: healing, serving, the goodness that makes well again."