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In the passage from the Acts of the Apostles we heard the voice of Peter, which announces with power Jesus’ resurrection. Peter is a witness of the hope that is in Christ. And in the second reading it is again Peter who confirms the faithful in Christ, writing: “Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead ... so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:21).
Peter is the community’s fixed point of reference because his foundation is the Rock that is Christ.
This is how John Paul II was, a true rock (“pietra”) anchored in the great Rock (“Roccia”).
A week after the canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II, we are gathered in this church of Poles in Rome to thank the Lord for the gift of the holy Bishop of Rome, who was a son of your nation. [We are gathered] in this church where he came more than 80 times! He always came here at different times of his life and of the life of Poland.
In the moments of sadness and of dejection, when everything seemed lost, he never lost hope, because his faith and hope were fixed in God (cf. 1 Peter 1:21). And so he was a rock, a rock for this community that prays here, that listens here to the Word, prepares for the Sacraments and administers them, welcomes those in need, sings and celebrates, and from here returns to the outskirts of Rome...
You, brothers and sisters, are part of a people that has been much tried in its history. The Polish people knows well that to enter into glory we must past through the passion and the cross (cf. Luke 24:26). And this people knows about these things not from study but by living through them. St. John Paul II, as a worthy son of his earthly homeland, followed this path. He followed it in an exemplary way, receiving complete spoliation from God. Because of this “his flesh rests in hope” (Cf. 2:26; Psalms 16:9).
And what about us? Are we ready to follow this road?
You, dear brothers, who today form the Polish Christian community in Rome, do you want to follow this road?
St. Peter, together with the voice of St. John Paul II, says to you: “Conduct yourselves with the fear of God while you live as exiles here below” (1 Peter 1:17). It is true, we are wayfarers, but not vagrants! We are on a journey but we know where we are going! Vagrants do not know this. As St. John Paul II said, we are pilgrims but not vagabonds!
The 2 disciples of Emmaus were vagrants when they left Jerusalem, they did not know where they would end up, but not when they came back! When they returned they were witnesses of the hope that is Christ! Because they encountered him, the Wayfarer who has risen. This Jesus is the Wayfarer who has risen who journeys with us. Jesus is here today, he is here with us. He is here in his Word, he is here on the altar, journeying with us, he is the Wayfarer who has risen.
We too can become “wayfarers who have risen,” if his Word burns in our heart, and his Eucharist opens our eyes to faith and nourishes us with hope and charity. We too can travel with our brothers and sisters who are sad and desperate, and we can warm their hearts with the Gospel, and we can break the bread of brotherhood with them.
St. John Paul II help us to be “wayfarers who have risen.” Amen.
[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]