Pontiff: Christ's Yoke Is Sweet But Demanding

41 Archbishops Receive Symbol of Union With Peter

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 29, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today reminded 41 new archbishops that Christ’s yoke is one of friendship, but also a demanding yoke that «forms us.»

The Pope said this when he celebrated Mass for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul today in St. Peter’s Basilica. Each year on this feast, the Church’s new archbishops (or those who were already archbishops but have been assigned to a different archdiocese) receive the pallium — the sign of their communion with the Pope. But today’s celebration was particularly significant as the Holy Father was celebrating his 60th ordination anniversary.

After a warm reflection about his priesthood and the lessons of six decades — he focused on Christ’s words, «I no longer call you servants, but friends» — the Pontiff turned his attention to those who would receive the pallium.

Brazil and the United States had the largest number of archbishops — seven and four, respectively, though two of the U.S. prelates are native Mexicans.

The pallium, the Pope said, «may remind us in the first instance of Christ’s easy yoke that is laid upon us. Christ’s yoke is identical with his friendship. It is a yoke of friendship and therefore ‘a sweet yoke,’ but as such it is also a demanding yoke, one that forms us. It is the yoke of his will, which is a will of truth and love.»

The Holy Father also noted how the pallium is made of wool.

«Thus it reminds us of the Shepherd who himself became a lamb, out of love for us. It reminds us of Christ, who set out through the mountains and the deserts, in which his lamb, humanity, had strayed. It reminds us of him who took the lamb — humanity — me — upon his shoulders, in order to carry me home,» he said. «It thus reminds us that we too, as shepherds in his service, are to carry others with us, taking them as it were upon our shoulders and bringing them to Christ.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-32967?l=english

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