Before the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about today’s Gospel, in which Jesus reveals to his disciples his coming passion, death and resurrection. Telling his audience that faithful obedience to God and loving service to our neighbor do not always come easily, the Holy Father reminded them that to follow Jesus they too must enter into the mystery of the cross.
Following the Angelus, he also addressed the problem of irregular immigration.
Speaking from the balcony of his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict compared the apostle Peter’s actions in last week’s Gospel, in which he proclaimed Jesus the Messiah and Son of God, with this week’s, showing his faith to be immature and too tied to the “pattern of this world.”
When Jesus begins to speak about his passion, death and resurrection, Peter protests saying, “Never Lord! This shall never happen to you!”
The Holy Father said Peter’s mindset is human, convinced that God would never permit his Son to end his mission dying on the cross. Jesus, Pope Benedict continued, knows that the Father, in his immense love for men, has sent Jesus to give his life for them.
Stating that Jesus “knows that the resurrection will be the last word,” Pope Benedict explained that Peter’s protest, made in good faith and out of sincere love for the Master, sounds like temptation to Jesus, an invitation to save himself, “while it is only by losing his life that (Jesus) will receive it new and eternal for all of us.”
The Holy Father noted that the Son of God’s passion and death was not a cruel plan of the Father. Pope Benedict expounded that by his death and resurrection, “Jesus defeated sin and death, reestablishing the lordship of God.”
Reminding his audience that evil exists in every generation, even today, he asked rhetorically, “What are the horrors of war, violence against the innocent, misery and injustice that are merciless to the weak, if not the opposition of evil to the kingdom of God?”
Pope Benedict concluded by referencing men and women ready to carry their cross and follow Jesus.
The Holy Father remarked, “In today’s world, where powers that divide and destroy appear to dominate, Christ does not stop making us a clear invitation: who wants to be my disciple, let him forswear his own egoism and carry with me the cross.”
He then invited his audience to invoke the intercession of Mary who, Pope Benedict said, followed Jesus along the way of the cross.
After praying the Angelus on Sunday, the Holy Father spoke about the increase in immigration from Africa to Europe. He described immigration as a “phenomenon present since the dawn of the history of humankind.”
The Holy Father noted that immigration compels human solidarity and political responses. He stated his “applause and encouragement” for the many regional, national and international responses to the “question of irregular migration.”
Pope Benedict explained that countries of origin must demonstrate responsibility, because this concerns their citizens, to remove the causes of irregular migration and to eliminate all forms of criminality tied to it. The Holy Father said that European countries must agree on initiatives and structures more adequate to the needs of irregular migrants.
He then expressed his responsibility to call the attention of all people to the problem and to call for generous collaboration by individuals and institutions to find solutions.
The Holy Father concluded his remarks by saying: “May the Lord accompany us and make our efforts fruitful!”