Pope Francis has canonized Pope Paul VI, Archbishop Oscar Romero and five other saints.
This morning in St. Peter’s Square, before a crowd of about 70,000 people, Pope Francis presided over Holy Mass for the canonization of the saints while the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment is underway in the Vatican, Oct. 3-28, 2018.
He also proclaimed canonized saints Francesco Spinelli, Vincenzo Romano, Maria Caterina Kasper, Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus, and Nunzio Sulprizio.
Pope Francis began recalling that today’s second reading tells us that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword (Heb 4:12).
“It really is: God’s word is not merely a set of truths or an edifying spiritual account; no – it is a living word that touches our lives, that transforms our lives. There, Jesus in person, the living Word of God, speaks to our hearts.”
The Gospel, he continued, invites us to an encounter with the Lord, after the example of the “man” who “ran up to him” (cf. Mk 10:17). The Pope pointed out that we can recognize ourselves in that man, as he asks Jesus how “to inherit eternal life” (v. 17).
“He is seeking life without end, life in its fullness: who of us would not want this? Yet we notice that he asks for it as an inheritance, as a good to be obtained, to be won by his own efforts. In fact, in order to possess this good, he has observed the commandments from his youth and to achieve this he is prepared to follow others; and so he asks: “What must I do to have eternal life?”
Jesus’ answer catches him off guard, the Pope said, reminding Jesus told him:“Sell what you have and give to the poor…and come, follow me” (v. 21). To you, too, the Pope noted, Jesus says: “Come, follow me!”
Seek Him Every Day, God as Meaning of Your Life
“Follow me: do not walk behind Jesus only when you want to, but seek him out every day; do not be content to keep the commandments, to give a little alms and say a few prayers: find in Him the God who always loves you; seek in Jesus the God who is the meaning of your life, the God who gives you the strength to give of yourself.”
“We cannot truly follow Jesus when we are laden down with things. Because if our hearts are crowded with goods, there will not be room for the Lord, who will become just one thing among the others.” The Pope noted that where money is at the center, there is no room for God nor for man.
Cannot Give Jesus Crumbs, When He Gives Himself as Our Living Bread
“Jesus is radical,” Francis said, noting: “He gives all and he asks all: he gives a love that is total and asks for an undivided heart. Even today he gives himself to us as the living bread; can we give him crumbs in exchange?”
The Pope said we cannot respond to Him, who made Himself our servant even going to the Cross for us, only by observing some of the Commandments.
“Jesus is not content with a “percentage of love”: we cannot love him twenty or fifty or sixty percent. It is either all or nothing.”
Our heart, the Pope went on to observe, is like a magnet: it lets itself be attracted by love, but it can cling to one master only and it must choose: either it will love God or it will love the world’s treasure; either it will live for love or it will live for itself (cf. Mk 8:35).
“Let us ask ourselves where we are in our story of love with God. Do we content ourselves with a few commandments or do we follow Jesus as lovers, really prepared to leave behind something for him? Jesus asks each of us and all of us as the Church journeying forward: are we a Church that only preaches good commandments or a Church that is a spouse, that launches herself forward in love for her Lord? Do we truly follow him or do we revert to the ways of the world, like that man in the Gospel?”
“In a word, is Jesus enough for us or do we look for many worldly securities? Let us ask for the grace always to leave things behind for love of the Lord: to leave behind wealth and yearning for status and power, structures that are no longer adequate for proclaiming the Gospel, those weights that slow down our mission, the strings that tie us to the world. Without a leap forward in love, our life and our Church become sick from “complacency and self-indulgence” (Evangelii Gaudium, 95): we find joy in some fleeting pleasure, we close ourselves off in useless gossip, we settle into the monotony of a Christian life without momentum, where a little narcissism covers over the sadness of remaining unfulfilled.”
The Pope stressed the necessity for us to give our whole hearts.
“Sadness is the proof of unfulfilled love, the sign of a lukewarm heart. On the other hand, a heart unburdened by possessions, that freely loves the Lord, always spreads joy, that joy for which there is so much need today.”
Francis recalled that Pope Saint Paul VI wrote: “It is indeed in the midst of their distress that our fellow men need to know joy, to hear its song” (Gaudete in Domino, I).
“Today Jesus invites us to return to the source of joy, which is the encounter with him, the courageous choice to risk everything to follow him, the satisfaction of leaving something behind in order to embrace his way. The saints have travelled this path.”
On Paul VI
St. Paul VI, like St. Paul, Francis observed, “spent his life for Christ’s Gospel, crossing new boundaries and becoming its witness in proclamation and in dialogue, a prophet of a Church turned outwards, looking to those far away and taking care of the poor.”
“Even in the midst of tiredness and misunderstanding, Paul VI bore witness in a passionate way to the beauty and the joy of following Christ totally. Today he still urges us, together with the Council whose wise helmsman he was, to live our common vocation: the universal call to holiness.”
“Not to half measures, but to holiness,” the Pope reminded.
“It is wonderful that together with him and the other new saints today, there is Archbishop Romero, who left the security of the world, even his own safety, in order to give his life according to the Gospel, close to the poor and to his people, with a heart drawn to Jesus and his brothers and sisters.”
Pope Francis said we can say the same about Francesco Spinelli, Vincenzo Romano, Maria Caterina Kasper, Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus, and “our young boy” from Naples, Nunzio Sulprizio.
Pope Francis concluded, saying: “All these saints, in different contexts, put today’s word into practice in their lives, without lukewarmness, without calculation, with the passion to risk everything and to leave it all.”
On ZENIT’s Web page: