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Pope Francis’ Homily at Mass for Deceased Cardinals and Bishops

“We are called to be first in front of Jesus cross, as Mary, as the women, as the centurion; to listen to Jesus cry, and His last breath and, finally, the silence”

At 11:30 this morning, Pope Francis presided over the Eucharistic Celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica for the souls of Cardinals and Bishops who died in the course of the year.

Here is a translation of the Pope’s homily during the course of the Holy Mass.

* * *

Thanks to the Word of God, this celebration is altogether illuminated by the faith in the Resurrection. A truth that made its way with difficulty in the Old Testament, and that emerges explicitly in the episode we heard, the collection for the expiatory sacrifice in favor of the dead (2 Maccabees 12:43-46).

The whole divine Revelation is the fruit of dialogue between God and His People, and faith in the Resurrection is also connected to this dialogue, which supports the journey of God’s People in history. It is not astonishing that such a great, such a decisive, such a superhuman mystery as that of the Resurrection required all the itinerary, all the necessary time up to Jesus Christ. He could say: “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), because not only is this mystery revealed fully in Him, but it is acted, happens, becomes for the first times and definitively a reality. The Gospel we heard, which unites — according to Mark’s writing — the account of the Death of Jesus and that of the empty tomb, represents the culmination of that whole journey: it is the event of the Resurrection, which responds to the long search of the People of God, the search of every man and of the whole of humanity.

Each one of us is invited to enter into this event. We are called to be first in front of  Jesus’ cross, as Mary, as the women, as the centurion; to listen to Jesus’ cry, and His last breath and, finally, the silence – that silence that is prolonged for the whole of Holy Saturday. And then we are called to go to the tomb, to see that the large boulder has been moved away, to hear the proclamation: “He has risen, He is not here” (Mark 16:6).  The answer is there, the foundation, the rock is there. Not in “persuasive wise discourses,” but in the living word of the cross and of the Resurrection of Jesus.

This is what the Apostle Paul preaches: Jesus Christ crucified and risen. If He has not risen, our faith is empty and inconsistent. However, because He is risen,  in fact, because He is the Resurrection, then our faith is full of truth and of eternal life.

Renewing the tradition, today we offer the Eucharistic sacrifice for the souls of our brother Cardinals and Bishops deceased over the last twelve months. And our prayer is enriched by sentiments, memories and gratitude for the witness of  the people we knew, with whom we shared service in the Church. Many of their faces are present to us, but each and all of them is looked at by the Father with His merciful love. And together with the gaze of the heavenly Father there is also that of the Mother, who intercedes for these, Her most beloved sons. Together with the faithful whom they served here on earth, may they be able to enjoy the happiness of the New Jerusalem.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

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