NEW YORK, APRIL 20, 2008 (Zenit.org).- If words such as authority and obedience touch a nerve, try looking at them again in the light of Christ, says Benedict XVI.
Speaking to more than 58,000 people gathered in Yankee’s Stadium for the last major event of his five-day visit, the Pope commented on what constitutes authentic freedom.
The unity of the Church, he said, is also apostolic: “It is a visible unity, grounded in the Apostles whom Christ chose and appointed as witnesses to his resurrection, and it is born of what the Scriptures call ‘the obedience of faith.'”
The Holy Father said words like authority and obedience, “to be frank […] are not easy words to speak nowadays. Words like these represent a ‘stumbling stone’ for many of our contemporaries, especially in a society which rightly places a high value on personal freedom.”
“Yet, in the light of our faith in Jesus Christ,” he continued, “we come to see the fullest meaning, value, and indeed beauty, of those words. The Gospel teaches us that true freedom, the freedom of the children of God, is found only in the self-surrender which is part of the mystery of love.
“Only by losing ourselves, the Lord tells us, do we truly find ourselves. True freedom blossoms when we turn away from the burden of sin, which clouds our perceptions and weakens our resolve, and find the source of our ultimate happiness in him who is infinite love, infinite freedom, infinite life.”
“Real freedom,” said the Holy Father, “is God’s gracious gift, the fruit of conversion to his truth, the truth which makes us free. And this freedom in truth brings in its wake a new and liberating way of seeing reality.”
Present for the Mass in Yankee’s Stadium were clergy, deacons, religious and laity representing every diocese in the United States.
“The presence around this altar of the Successor of Peter, his brother bishops and priests, and deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful from throughout the fifty states of the Union,” Benedict XVI said, “eloquently manifests our communion in the Catholic faith which comes to us from the Apostles.”