VATICAN CITY, APRIL 2, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI recalled the second anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s death, saying that the “sweet scent” of his love for God has spread throughout the world.
Benedict XVI presided over a Mass for John Paul II today in St. Peter’s Square. He spoke of the Gospel reading which the liturgy offered: the passage where Mary, Lazarus’ sister, anoints Christ’s feet with a flask of costly perfume and dries them with her hair.
The Pope said that this passage is full of “spiritual suggestions” since it evokes the “luminous testimony that John Paul II offered, of an unreserved love for Christ.”
Banners reading “Sainthood Now” dotted the plaza. Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, a French nun who says that her cure from Parkinson’s disease was due to John Paul II’s intercession, was also there.
Like Mary’s, “the ‘perfume’ of his love ‘filled the house,’ that is, filled the entire Church,” Benedict XVI said amidst repeated applause from some 40,000 people in attendance.
“We who were close to him could take advantage of it, and for this we give thanks to God,” the Pontiff continued. “But also those who knew him from afar could benefit, because the love of Pope Wojtyla for Christ overflowed, so to speak, to every region of the world, because of its strength and intensity.
“The esteem, the respect, the affection for him which believers and nonbelievers expressed at the moment of his death — is that not an eloquent testimony?
“His intense and fruitful pastoral ministry, and even more, the calvary of his agony and the serene death of our beloved Pope allowed people of our age to know that Jesus Christ really is everything.”
“The fruitfulness of this testimony,” Benedict XVI continued, “we know it, depends on the cross.” In the life of Karol Wojtyla, the cross “was much more than just a word,” the German Pope added.
“Especially with the slow but unstoppable advance of his illness, that little by little stripped him of everything,” Benedict XVI said, “his existence became a total offering to Christ, a living announcement of his passion, with the faith-filled hope of the resurrection.”
“From a long time ago,” he continued, “he had prepared for this last encounter with Jesus” and “like his divine Master, lived his agony in prayer. … He died praying. He truly fell asleep in the Lord.”
“The perfume of the faith, hope and charity of the Pope filled his house, filled St. Peter’s Square, filled the Church and overflowed to the entire world,” Benedict XVI exclaimed.
He continued: “What happened after his death was — for the person of faith — the effect of this ‘perfume’ that reached everyone, those close by and those far away, and attracted them toward a man that God gradually conformed to the image of his Christ.
“Beloved John Paul II, from the house of the Father — we can be sure — has not ceased to accompany the Church in its journey.”