Loading
Be ‘light in Africa,’ Pope tells bishops
Pope Benedict XVI -- Credit:Mazur
Pope Benedict XVI -- Credit:Mazur

.- Pope Benedict XVI has presented “Africae Munus,” his apostolic exhortation on the future of Christianity in Africa, to the bishops of the continent.

“Be the salt of the African earth, blessed by the blood of so many martyrs – men, women and children, witnesses of the Christian faith even to the supreme gift of their lives!” said the Pope as he handed over his document after Sunday Mass in the Benin city of Conotou Nov. 20.

“Become the light of the world, the light in Africa which seeks, amid tribulations, the path of peace and justice for all its citizens. Your light is Jesus, the Christ, ‘the Light of the World.’ May God bless you, dear Africa!”

The Pope offered Mass this morning before an estimated congregation of over 80,000 people drawn from all over West Africa. The Mass took place at the Friendship Stadium in Cotonou where he was joined by over 200 African bishops and over 1000 priests from Benin.

“Africae Munus” is the Pope’s personal response to the recommendations of the 2009 Synod of African Bishops held in Rome.

“I hope that this exhortation will guide you in the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus in Africa,” said the Pope, “it is not just a message or a word. It is above all openness and adhesion to a person: Jesus Christ the incarnate Word. He alone possesses the words of life eternal.”

Today also marked the Solemnity of Christ the King instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI as a response to growing secularism.

“On this feast day, we rejoice together in the reign of Christ the King over the whole world,” said Pope Benedict in his homily.

“He is the one who removes all that hinders reconciliation, justice and peace.  We are reminded that true royalty does not consist in a show of power, but in the humility of service; not in the oppression of the weak, but in the ability to protect them and to lead them to life in abundance.”

Just as happened at the time of Christ, the Pope said that modern man is also drawn to “success, power, money and ability,” as signs of “royalty.” Thus, he still finds it “hard to accept such a king, a king who makes himself the servant of the little ones, of the most humble, a king whose throne is a cross.”

Reflecting upon the gospel of the day in which “the Son of Man,” rewards and punishes people according to how they treated the most vulnerable, the Pope said that for Christ “to reign is to serve,” and so “what he asks of us is to follow him along the way, to serve, to be attentive to the cry of the poor, the weak, the outcast.”  

The Pope took the opportunity to give a particular greeting to the sick within the vast congregation including “those affected by AIDS or by other illnesses.”

“Have courage!” he told them, “the Pope is close to you in his thoughts and prayers.  Have courage!”

He explained that Jesus wanted to share their suffering and “to see you as his brothers and sisters, to free you from every affliction, from all suffering.”

“Every sick person, every poor person deserves our respect and our love,” he said, “because, through them, God shows us the way to heaven.”

Christ the King came to liberate everybody from both physical and spiritual affliction and to create “a new world, a world of freedom and joy,” the Pope explained.

And yet, today, “so much still binds us to the world of the past,” and “so many fears hold us prisoners and prevent us from living in freedom and happiness.” The answer is to “allow Christ to free us from the world of the past!” as it is Christ alone who “gives us the true life and can liberate us for all our fears and sluggishness, from all our anguish.”

The choice is ours, said the Pope as “we – and we alone – can prevent him from reigning over us and consequently obstructing his Lordship over our families, society and history,” if we choose not to accept his kingship. “His Kingdom can be threatened in our hearts,” he said, because “there God comes face to face with our freedom.”

This explains the importance he attaches to evangelization in “Africae Munus,” he said.

“(T)he man of hope, the Christian, cannot be uninterested in his brothers and sisters,” but has to “make the loving face of the Savior shine in every place, in particular before the young, who search for reasons to live and hope in a difficult world!”

Therefore, just as the first missionaries to Benin had done 150 years ago, “may Jesus Christ give you strength to live as Christians and to find ways to transmit generously to new generations what you have received from your fathers in faith!”


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
16

Liturgical Calendar

April 16, 2014

Wednesday of Holy Week

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Gospel
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 50:4-9a
Gospel:: Mt 26:14-25

Homily of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Homily
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: