.- Our relationship with God provides “the key to our happiness and our human fulfillment," Pope Benedict XVI said at Mass on Sunday. Noting that nothing can take God's place, he urged the people of Malta not to be tempted by the influences of the world but to pass on their inheritance of faith to their children and all visitors.
The Granaries Square in Floriana was the scene for the Sunday morning Mass. The capacity of the square is 10,000 people, but some media reports estimated the crowd at 40,000.
Praising the Maltese for their ability throughout history to discern and accept the best things foreigners had to offer, he urged them to continue to exercise their great discernment as "not everything that today's world proposes is worthy of acceptance by the people of Malta."
"Many voices try to persuade us to put aside our faith in God and His Church, and to choose for ourselves the values and beliefs by which to live. They tell us we have no need of God or the Church," the Pope noted.
"If we are tempted to believe them, we should recall the incident in today's Gospel," he said, "...left to themselves, their efforts were fruitless; when Jesus stood alongside them, they netted a huge quantity of fish.
"My dear brothers and sisters, if we place our trust in the Lord and follow his teachings, we will always reap immense rewards."
Recalling the reading from Acts in which St. Paul urges trust in the Lord amidst the storm that would leave the crew shipwrecked on Malta 1,950 years ago, Pope Benedict said: "We too must place our trust in Him alone."
Although we might be tempted to think that technology can appease our needs and protect us from danger, "it is not so," he stated.
"At every moment of our lives we depend entirely on God, in Whom we live and move and have our being.
"Only He can protect us from harm, only He can guide us through the storms of life, only He can bring us to a safe haven, as He did for Paul and his companions adrift off the coast of Malta," taught the Holy Father.
"It is our relationship with the Lord that provides the key to our happiness and our human fulfillment", he continued, adding that the relationships of love to which the Lord calls us "must inform every aspect of our preaching and teaching, our celebration of the Sacraments, and our care for the people of God.”
He emphasized that we are moved by the Lord's love to love others and "to accept gladly the task of communicating His love to those we serve."
"In every area of our lives we need the help of God's grace," said the Holy Father. "With Him, we can do all things: without Him we can do nothing."
He encouraged the population to continue to transmit their inheritance from St. Paul of faith and values to their children and all visitors to the island. This gift, he explained, "needs to be shared with others, it needs to be articulated."
In conclusion, Pope Benedict urged the population to remember the example of their first canonized saint, Fr. Dun Gorg Preca, in being aware that the "exchange of goods" between Malta and the rest of the world is "a two-way process."
"What you receive, evaluate with care, and what you have that is of value, be sure to share with others," he said.