FULL TEXT - Pope Francis' says "In truth, the Word of God today awakens in us the amazement of being in the Church, the amazement of being Church!" in Homily at Mass with New Cardinals - VIDEO

Pope Francis presided at Holy Mass on August 30th, in St. Peter's Basilica, with members of the College of Cardinals, especially the 20 new cardinals.
There were about 190 Cardinals, as well as Eastern Patriarchs and Superiors of the Secretariat of State, who had participated in the two day consistory.

In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on Jesus' calling to "make disciples of all nations."


Basilica of Saint Peter on Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The readings of this celebration - proper to the form "for the Church" - present us with a double astonishment: that of Paul in the face of God's plan of salvation (cf. Eph 1: 3-14) and that of the disciples, including Matthew himself, in the encounter with the risen Jesus, who sends them on mission (cf. Mt 28: 16-20). Double astonishment. Let us enter these two territories, where the wind of the Holy Spirit blows strongly, so that we can start again from this celebration, and from this cardinal's convocation, more capable of "proclaiming the wonders of the Lord to all peoples" (cf. Psalm resp.) .

The hymn with which the Letter to the Ephesians opens springs from the contemplation of God's salvific plan in history. As we remain enchanted in the presence of the universe that surrounds us, so amazement pervades us considering the history of salvation. And if everything in the cosmos moves or stands still according to the impalpable force of gravity, in the plan of God through time everything finds its origin, existence, destination and end in Christ.

In the Pauline hymn this expression - "in Christ" or "in him" - is the cornerstone that supports all the phases of the history of salvation: in Christ we were blessed before creation; in him we have been called; in him we have been redeemed; in him every creature is brought back to unity, and all, near and far, first and last, are destined, thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit, to be in praise of the glory of God.

Faced with this plan, to us - as the liturgy says - "praise is fitting" (Resp. Lauds Monday 4th Sept.): praise, blessing, adoration, gratitude that recognizes the work of God. A praise that thrives on astonishment, and it is preserved from the risk of falling into habit as long as it draws the wonder, as long as it feeds on this fundamental attitude of the heart and spirit: astonishment. I would like to ask each of us, you dear brother Cardinals, you Bishops, priests, consecrated persons, consecrated people, people of God: how is your astonishment? Do you feel amazement at times? Or have you forgotten what it means?

This climate of amazement is the climate we breathe as we enter the territory of the Pauline hymn.

If we then go into the short but dense Gospel story, if together with the disciples we respond to the call of the Lord and go to Galilee - each of us has his own Galilee in his own history, that Galilee in which we heard the call of the Lord, the look of the Lord who has called us; return to that Galilee - if we return to that Galilee, on the mountain indicated by Him, we experience a new amazement. This time, it is not the plan of salvation itself that enchants us, but the fact - even more surprising - that God involves us in his plan: it is the reality of the mission of the apostles with the risen Christ. Indeed, we can hardly imagine in what state of mind the "eleven disciples" listened to those words of the Lord: "Go [...] make disciples of all peoples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them everything what I have commanded you "(Mt 28,19-20); and then the final promise that infuses hope and consolation - today [in the morning meeting] we spoke of hope -: "I am with you always, to the close of the age" (v. 20). These words of the Risen One still have the strength to make our hearts vibrate, two thousand years later. We are not stopped by the unfathomable divine decision to evangelize the world starting from that miserable group of disciples, who - as the Evangelist notes - were still doubtful (cf. v. 17). But, on closer inspection, the astonishment that takes us is no different if we look at us, gathered here today, to whom the Lord repeated those same words, that same sending! Each of us, and us as a community, as a college.

Brothers, this amazement is a way of salvation! May God always keep him alive, because he frees us from the temptation to feel "up to par", to feel "eminent", to nourish the false security that today, in reality, is different, it is no longer like it was in the beginning, today the Church is great, the Church is solid, and we are placed at the eminent degrees of its hierarchy - they call us "eminences" - ... Yes, there is some truth in this, but there is also so much deception, with which the Liar always seeks to worldly the followers of Christ and make them harmless. This call is under the temptation of worldliness, which step by step takes away your strength, takes away your hope; it prevents you from seeing the gaze of Jesus who calls us by name and sends us. This is the worm of spiritual worldliness.
In truth, the Word of God today awakens in us the amazement of being in the Church, the amazement of being Church! Let's go back to this initial baptismal amazement! And this is what makes the community of believers attractive, first for themselves and then for all: the double mystery of being blessed in Christ and going with Christ into the world. And this amazement does not diminish in us with the passing of the years, it does not diminish with the growth of our responsibilities in the Church. Thank God no. It strengthens, it deepens. I am sure that this is also the case for you, dear brothers who have joined the College of Cardinals.

And it gives us joy that this sense of gratitude unites us all, all of us baptized. We must be so grateful to Pope Saint Paul VI, who was able to transmit this love for the Church to us, a love that is first of all gratitude, a grateful wonder for its mystery and for the gift of being admitted to it, not only of being involved in it, participate, moreover, to be co-responsible. In the Prologue of the Encyclical Ecclesiam suam - the programmatic one, written during the Council - the first thought that animates the Pope is - I quote - "that this is the hour in which the Church must deepen her awareness of herself, [...] its origin, its mission "; and it refers precisely to the Letter to the Ephesians, to the "" providential plan of the mystery hidden for centuries in God ... so that it may be manifested ... through the Church "(Eph 3: 9-10)".

This, dear brothers and sisters, is a minister of the Church: one who knows how to marvel at God's plan and who passionately loves the Church with this spirit, ready to serve his mission where and how the Holy Spirit wishes. So was Paul the apostle - we see it in his Letters -: apostolic enthusiasm and concern for the communities in him is always accompanied, indeed, preceded by the blessing full of grateful admiration: "Blessed be God ...", and full of amazement. And this is perhaps the measure, the thermometer of our spiritual life. I repeat the question, dear brother, dear sister - we are all together here -: how is your ability to amaze yourself? Or are you used to it, so used to it, that you have lost it? Are you able to surprise yourself again?

May it be so for us too! Amaze us. May it be so for each of you, dear brother Cardinals! May this grace be obtained for us by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, who looked and admired all things in her heart. So be it.
Source: Vatican.va