I have been a Catholic all my life and a “professional” Catholic, in one way or another, for much of my adult life. I have studied our history carefully and our theology deeply. I have lived and studied in Rome in close proximity to a pope known for dramatic gestures and historic decisions. I once held the microphone for Blessed (soon to be Saint) John Paul II as he presided at Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica, and I own a chalice he once used, in my presence, at a different Mass. In short, having been around and thought about these sorts of things for a long time (and realizing that much of it is just baubles and beads), I suppose, if I’m honest, it takes a lot to really and truly move me with “things Catholic.” But this morning, this (see photo at right) surely did it.
In terms of Catholic faith and life, it’s hard to get more momentous than this: Pope Francis cradling a metal box containing the bones of Saint Peter during the recitation of the Creed in Saint Peter’s Square, just yards from Peter’s place of martyrdom and his tomb, and just a few minutes before preaching to the believers and unbelievers, the saints and the strugglers gathered there that
[Christ] is the centre of all things, he is the beginning. God has given him the fullness, the totality, so that in him all things might be reconciled…. Christ, the descendant of King David, is the “brother” around whom God’s people come together. It is he who cares for his people, for all of us, even at the price of his life. In him we are all one; united with him, we share a single journey, a single destiny. Finally, Christ is the centre of the history of the human race and of every man and woman. To him we can bring the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and troubles which are part of our lives. When Jesus is the centre, light shines even amid the darkest times of our lives; he gives us hope, as he does to the good thief in today’s Gospel.
That’s a lot to take in and to ponder. But as I head off to Mass with my family on this Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, I surely, with awe and gratitude, shall try.
Rocco has the video and the full text of the homily here.