The preacher of the Pontifical Household says that today, we can make the most important decision of our lives, “one that opens wide before us the doors of eternity: to believe!”
Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa said this today during the homily of the liturgy of Good Friday, presided over by Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica.
“What an extraordinary thing!,” the preacher said. “This Good Friday celebrated in the Year of Faith and in the presence of the new Successor of Peter, could be, if we wish, the principle of a new kind of existence. Bishop Hilary of Poitiers, converted to Christianity as an adult, looking back on his past life, said, ‘before meeting you, I did not exist.'”
Father Cantalamessa went on to reflect about how different life is when viewed through the eyes of faith. He illustrated the point by speaking of infrared images made by satellites.
“How different the landscape looks when seen from up there, in the light of those rays, compared to what we see in natural light and from down here,” he said. “[…] Even human life, seen in the infrared rays of faith, from atop Calvary, looks different from what you see ‘with the naked eye.'”
The preacher noted how “in Christ dead and risen, the world has reached its final destination.”
“[I]t can be said that the end of time has already come, because in Christ, who ascended to the right hand of the Father, humanity has reached its ultimate goal. The new heavens and new Earth have already begun,” he added.
So despite the misery and injustice on earth, what we see with our eyes, “in reality evil and death have been defeated forever.”
Father Cantalamessa continued: “One thing above all appears different, seen with the eyes of faith: death! Christ entered death as we enter a dark prison; but he came out of it from the opposite wall. […] Death is no longer a wall against which every human hope is shattered; it has become a bridge to eternity. A ‘bridge of sighs,’ perhaps because no one likes to die, but a bridge, no longer a bottomless pit that swallows everything.”
Father Cantalamessa said that “the urgency that comes from all this is that of evangelizing.”
Evangelization, he said, “has a mystical origin; it is a gift that comes from the cross of Christ, from that open side, from that blood and from that water.”
Christian evangelization, he continued, is not propaganda. “It is the gift of God to the world in his Son Jesus. It is to give the Head the joy of feeling life flow from his heart towards his body, to the point of vivifying its most distant limbs.”
The preacher added: “In Revelation, Jesus says that He stands at the door and knocks (Rev 3:20). Sometimes, as noted by our Pope Francis, he does not knock to enter, but knocks from within to go out. To reach out to the ‘existential suburbs of sin, suffering, injustice, religious ignorance and indifference, and of all forms of misery.'”
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