At Sunday’s Papal Mass at the airport in Brno, Czech Republic, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed Christ to be mankind’s only certain hope. In a world in which too much trust in placed in human projects, the Pope explained, this is the message that Christians are called to spread every day through their witness.
Pope Benedict began by turning the attention of the almost half a million faithful to his second encyclical, in which he cites the historical “absurdities to which man descends when he excludes God from the horizon of his choices and actions.”
“Freedom,” Benedict XVI said, “has constantly to be won over for the cause of good, and the arduous search for the ‘right way to order human affairs’ is a task that belongs to all generations.”
Listening to God’s word, he added, will show people the way that leads to hope, for Christ crucified and risen, the Hope of humanity, is the message of salvation.
“Man needs to be liberated from material oppressions, but more profoundly, he must be saved from the evils that afflict the spirit,” the Holy Father continued. “Our firm hope is therefore Christ. In him, God has loved us to the utmost and has given us life in abundance, the life that every person, even if unknowingly, longs to possess.”
Christ, the Pontiff said, “assures us of his help, because nothing can be done without him, but at the same time, he asks everyone to make a personal commitment to spread his universal message of love and peace.”
The Pope concluded by citing the example of Saints Cyril and Methodius, the principal patrons of Moravia, who evangelized the Slavic peoples, of Saints Peter and Paul, to whom the Brno Cathedral is dedicated, of Saint Zdislava, mother of a family, rich in works of mercy, of Saint John Sarkander, priest and martyr, of Saint Clement Maria Hofbauer, priest and religious, born in the Brno diocese and canonized one hundred years ago, and of Blessed Restituta Kafkova, a religious sister born in Brno and killed by the Nazis in Vienna.
At the end of the Mass, before the Angelus prayer, Pope Benedict recalled John Paul II’s decision to visit the region after the fall of Communist totalitarianism and urged the faithful to remain true to the Gospel. Noting the Marian sanctuaries of Moravia and Bohemia, Benedict XVI encouraged the crowd “not to lose sight of the ideal expressed by traditional customs and above all to maintain the spiritual patrimony inherited from your forebears, to guard it and to make it answer to the needs of the present day.”