Donate now

Photo by Zenit Vatican Correspondent on the ground in Poznan

POZNAN FEATURE: ‘All We Do, Even This Plenary, Is Useless, If Not Done For and With the Lord,’ Cardinal Bagnasco’s Homily

President of Council of European Bishops’ Conferences Reminds: ‘We Are Called to Surrender to Lord’s Grace’

Our work and what may be important, but if we are not doing it united with the Lord, then it doesn’t matter…

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences and Archbishop of the northern Italian port city of Genoa, stressed this in his homily at the Opening Mass of the CCEE’s Plenary Assembly at the Church of St. Stanislaus, the Bishop and Martyr, in Poznan, Poland. Zenit is on the ground in Poznan, and brings you images and a full-English translation of the homily given in Italian, during the Mass.

In his homily, he stressed that we are called to surrender to the Lord’s grace, and that we are never alone.

“Everything of the Church and, therefore, of us Pastors, of the Christian community, of every baptized person, is either lived in a Eucharistic key or is infertile even if it registers consensus and success.

“In fact, in every apostolic work — including our meeting with one another — it is not sufficient that it is done “for” the Lord, it must also be done “with” the Lord: only then is it fruitful, even when we do not see the fruits.”

“It is not sufficient to work a lot; it is necessary to work well, and this means in the first place to work with God, united intimately with Him, who wants to work with us in His work of salvation. Around the altar we cling to Christ, our hope and our life, so that all that we say in this Plenary is said by Him and with Him.”

After pointing out three things that His Word indicates to us today, Cardinal Bagnasco concluded, reflecting: “Celebrating the Eucharist we come close to the source of grace and, as the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, we ask the Lord — thirsty for our thirst — to give us always the water that satiates and nourishes the desire for Him.”

“We believe that the whole world has this profound thirst: we pray that it feels it, and that all of us can be humble bearers of water.”

Here is the Zenit translation of Cardinal Bagnasco’s homily.

***

Archdiocese of Poznan

CCEE Plenary, 13.9.2018

Holy Mass

HOMILY

**

“Knowledge, Gratuitousness, Judgment”

Dear Brethren in the Episcopate, in the Priesthood and in the Diaconate,

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

The Holy Eucharist is the summit and source of the Church: its mystery stems from the New Covenant sealed by the cross of salvation, of which the Mass is the perpetual memorial. From that moment, the face of the People of God shines with the face of Christ, hope of the world, center of the cosmos and of history, light of the people. As by the “misterium lunae,” of which Saint Ambrose speaks, the Son of God willed to reflect His light on the terrain of our humanity, entrusting to His Church the holiness of the Sacraments, the light of His Word, the sign of a community of love and of service. That original beauty will never be able to disappear despite human shadows.

Everything of the Church and, therefore, of us Pastors, of the Christian community, of every baptized person, is either lived in a Eucharistic key or is infertile even if it registers consensus and success. In fact, in every apostolic work — including our meeting with one another — it is not sufficient that it is done “for” the Lord, it must also be done “with” the Lord: only then is it fecund even when we do not see the fruits. It is not sufficient to work a lot; it is necessary to work well, and this means in the first place to work with God, united intimately with Him, who wants to work with us in His work of salvation. Around the altar we cling to Christ, our hope and our life, so that all that we say in this Plenary is said by Him and with Him.

What does His Word indicate to us today? I point out three things from its boundless treasure.

  1. Speaking of the value and the riches of knowledge, Saint Paul takes us to the center of the question. If knowledge is geared to the discovery of truth, Christ is the full and eternal Truth, the Logos of God. Why does Paul speak thus?  Because he knows — he a learned man — that the way of truth can present labyrinths in which reason gets lost; because he knows that human intelligence — which bears the sign of the ancient sin — can stitch itself with fragments of truth and forget the whole truth; because he knows that the search for consensus can play poorly in the service of the truth. Therefore, Paul calls us back immediately to the center and to the criterion, which is Christ, “in virtue of whom all things exist and we exist.”
  2. The Gospel recalls to us first of all the gratuitousness of relations and of service. Jesus is direct and concrete: we are all able to do good to those that do good to us; however, the disciple must do good also to one who doesn’t correspond to him or does him harm: “love your enemies.” Here is a Christian difference that isn’t of a moralistic type. Jesus doesn’t ask us for a despairing voluntarism, but he asks us to surrender to grace, to the gentle strength of His Spirit: only then will we be able to act as He teaches, because it will be He himself who will act in us. Posing lofty aims to us, He asks us to surrender to His love, which transforms the heart of stone into a heart of flesh.
  3. Finally, the Lord invites us not to judge and to forgive. In fact, Jesus judged always, but His judgment  — even when very severe — did not crush the person, but saved him/her in truth and in love. This is the paradigm of judgment: to indicate faithfully the way that Christ has revealed to us, knowing that only God knows the human heart in depth, and without presuming to be able to declare the state of grace of each one. This is His food.  

Dear Friends, the message is great and serious, and because of this it is beautiful: it is demanding and questions our faith in God’s grace, in the strength of the Sacraments, in the performative character of the Lord’s Word. We’re not alone! Celebrating the Eucharist we come close to the source of grace and, as the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, we ask the Lord — thirsty for our thirst — to give us always the water that satiates and nourishes the desire for Him. We believe that the whole world has this profound thirst: we pray that it feels it, and that all of us can be humble bearers of water.

Angelo Cardinal Bagnasco

Metropolitan Archbishop of Genoa

President of the CCEE

[Provided by CCEE to Zenit’s Deborah Castellano Lubov, who is on the ground in Poznan] [Zenit-provided translation]

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis': https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

Share this Entry

Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation