With more than 100,000 gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Cardinal Angelo Sodano presided this Sunday at the first Mass for the repose of Pope John Paul II, who died on Saturday, April 2.
In his homily, the cardinal told the faithful, “The Pope died serenely.” “I was a witness to that serenity as a participant in the prayers for the Pope as he lay dying,” revealed Cardinal Sodano, adding that for him “serenity is the product of faith.”
Cardinal Sodano, who was Vatican Secretary of State up to the Pope’s death, recalled that the Church today celebrates Sunday “in albis,” the “Sunday of Divine Mercy,” a feast instituted by John Paul II himself several years ago.
Pointing out the in his life and preaching the Holy Father called believers to go beyond justice and perfect it in mercy, Cardinal Sodano said that, “John Paul the Great thus became the singer of the civilization of love, seeing in that expression one of the most beautiful definitions of the ‘Christian civilization’.”
“Yes, the Christian civilization is the civilization of love, in radical opposition to those civilizations of hate that were proposed by Nazism and Communism,” he added. The whole world has been “touched by a painful fact: our Father and Shepherd, John Paul II, has left us.” Nevertheless, said the cardinal, “for 26 years he has always invited us to look to Christ, the only reason for our hope.”
“For 26 years he has brought the Gospel of Christian hope to city squares all over the world, teaching everyone that our death is nothing more than the passage to our heavenly home. That is our eternal destiny, where God our Father awaits us.” “The Christian’s sorrow is transformed immediately into a closeness of profound serenity,” the cardinal said.
“To our unforgettable Holy Father we say, with the words of the Liturgy: ‘May the angels lead you to Paradise!’ May a rejoicing choir receive you and lead you to the Holy City, the Heavenly Jerusalem, because there you will have your eternal rest,” Cardinal Sodano concluded.