The Holy Father's supposed address to Swiss bishops, of which the Vatican Information Service published a summary yesterday, was not, in fact, delivered at all. As reported by CNA and confirmed by a message released from the Holy See Press Office, the text published yesterday "reflected the contents of a draft version prepared earlier for the Swiss bishops 'ad limina' visit of February 2005."
In his off-the-cuff homily during yesterday's Mass, Benedict XVI noted how the liturgical readings he and the Swiss prelates had just heard had "a common theme, which could be summed up in the phrase: God never fails."
Referring to the parable of the guests who decide not to attend the banquet (Lk 14:15-24), the Holy Father indicated how God, "does not fail because He always finds new ways to reach mankind, and to open His great house in order to fill it entirely ... God does not fail, even today, though so often we hear the word 'no.'”
“We are aware that churches are becoming ever less full, that seminaries continue to empty, that religious houses are ever emptier; we know all the forms in which this 'no-I've-more-important-things-to-do' can present itself," the Pope said.
Quoting from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, Pope Benedict told the bishops "Have among yourselves the same mind (or attitude) that is also yours in Christ Jesus(Phil 2:5-11)."
"Learn to think as Christ thought, learn to think with Him! Such thought is not just of the mind, but also of the heart,” the Pope continued. “If we enter into His feelings ... love for God is reawakened within us. We feel how beautiful it is that He exists, and that we can know Him, that we know Him in the face of Jesus Christ Who suffered for us."
"I believe" the Pope continued, "that we must commit ourselves above all to listening to the Lord, to prayer, to a profound participation in the Sacraments, to learning God's feelings in the face and the sufferings of our fellows, in order to be infected by His joy, by His zeal, by His love, and to contemplate the world with Him ... If we are able to do this, then even amid so many 'no’s,' we will again find men and women who await Him; perhaps strange men and women, as the parable clearly says, but who are called to enter His hall."
The Holy Father concluded his homily by highlighting the fact that problems "cannot be resolved if God is not placed at the center, if God does not become visible in the world once more, if He does not become a determining force in our lives, and if He does not, through us, decisively enter the world. It is my belief that the destiny of the world today, in its current dramatic situation, depends upon this: whether God - the God of Jesus Christ - exists and is recognized as such, or whether He disappears. Our concern is that He should remain present."
.- Made public today was the homily given by the Pope yesterday during a Mass concelebrated in the Vatican's "Redemptoris mater" Chapel with bishops from Switzerland.