All of the new cardinals are under 80, and therefore eligible to vote in the next conclave.
In his homily, Francis reflected on the Gospel heard during the ceremony, which came from Matthew 10:32-45. In the passage, Jesus and the disciples are walking toward Jerusalem. This is when the third prediction of the Passion of Christ happens, which is nearing.
“‘Jesus was walking ahead of them.’ This is the picture that the Gospel we have just read presents to us. It serves as a backdrop to the act now taking place: this Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals,” he said.
Jesus walks ahead of them with full knowledge of what is going to take place in Jerusalem, but at this moment there is a divide, a distance, between his heart and the hearts of his disciples, which only the Holy Spirit can bridge, Francis said.
He knows this and is patient with them. “Above all, he goes before them. He walks ahead of them.”
Along the way, though, the disciples become distracted by things which have nothing to do with what Jesus is preparing to do, or with the will of the Father.
“They are not facing reality! They think they see, but they don’t. They think they know, but they don’t. They think they understand better than the others, but they don’t…” the Pope exclaimed.
“For the reality is completely different. It is what Jesus sees and what directs his steps. The reality is the cross.”
This reality, Francis continued, is the sin of the world, which the Lord came to take upon himself and to “uproot from the world of men and women.”
The reality of sin is manifest in the world in the innocent who suffer and die as victims of war and terrorism, in the many forms of human slavery that exist, he said. It’s found also in refugee camps, which are more like hell than purgatory, and it’s in the discarding of people and things that society doesn’t find useful.
“This,” he said, “is what Jesus sees as he walks towards Jerusalem.”
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“During his public ministry he made known the Father’s tender love by healing all who were oppressed by the evil one (cf. Acts 10:38). Now he realizes that the moment has come to press on to the very end, to eliminate evil at its root. And so, he walks resolutely towards the cross.”
“We too, dear brothers and sisters, are journeying with Jesus along this path,” he said.
“And now,” he concluded, “with faith and through the intercession of the Virgin Mother, let us ask the Holy Spirit to bridge every gap between our hearts and the heart of Christ, so that our lives may be completely at the service of God and all our brothers and sisters.”
After the consistory, Pope Francis and the new cardinals will stop by the Vatican's Mater Ecclesiae Monastery to pay a visit to Benedict XVI, who was not present at the ceremony.
As is customary, the cardinals will then proceed to the atrium of the Pope Paul VI hall where they are formally greeted and congratulated.
The new cardinals will also concelebrate Mass with Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the patrons of Rome. At the Mass the Pope will also bestow the pallia on the new metropolitan archbishops appointed during the last year.