Archbishop Gomez calls public leaders to sacrificial love

Joining President George Bush, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, and an estimated 2,000 attendees at this morning’s National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Archbishop Jose Gomez called on Catholics “to live our faith in Jesus Christ fully, faithfully -- and without excuses.”

The San Antonio Archbishop, who was the main celebrant for this morning’s Mass, reflected in his homily on a reading from the book of Sirach, which says that, “A faithful friend is a sturdy (strong) shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure”.

He spoke of the friendship of Christ, who chose to “lay down His life for His friends” and called especially on public leaders to imitate this love.

“For all of us in public leadership,” he said, “the first reading today should make us very uneasy.  What kind of friendship do we give to other people?  What kind of friends do we draw to ourselves?  And do our public actions and private choices add up to the kind of behavior that leads anyone else to love and fear God?”

He added that, “If we claim to believe in the sanctity of human life, do our actions toward the unborn, the sick and the elderly prove that?  If we claim to be concerned for the poor, what are we doing to show it?  If we claim to respect family life, are we willing to strengthen the institution of marriage?”

 Archbishop Gomez stressed that true love is always rooted in truth.

“The crowds”, he said, “gather around Jesus in the Gospel today not because He has an easy message, but because they know He tells the truth without compromises.  They may not like to hear it, but He speaks what they need to hear.”

The Archbishop urged Catholics to remember their Catholic faith “that nurtured and shaped us”, asking “What does it profit any one of us to succeed at anything, if we forget the Lord who made us?”

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