Pope Francis presided over the Great Mass to celebrate the feast of the Apostles of St. Peter and St. Paul. The Pope recounted the life-changing experience of these two apostles when they met with Christ, stating that “we always need to be released, because only a free church is a church that can be trusted”.
(Vatican News Network) On the morning of June 29th, Pope Francis hosted a grand mass at the central altar of St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul’s Apostles. In compliance with health and safety regulations, many faithful, bishops and cardinals attended the ceremony. The delegation of the Archbishop of Constantinople led by the Metropolitan Bishop Emmanuel of Gacedon was also present. Every year this delegation is present at this opportunity. Come to Rome to participate in the celebration ceremony.
The Pope mentioned the testimony of the two apostles in his sermon, stating that “their talents were not placed at the center in their history, but the encounter with Christ changed their lives. They experienced the healing of them. And free love, thus becoming an apostle and a priest who helps others to be set free. What the church needs is freedom. “We always need to be released, because only a free church is a church that can be trusted.”
The Pope emphasized that Peter and Paul were free people because they were free. Peter was a fisherman from Galilee. He was first released from the “unfitness and the suffering of failure” because of the “unconditional love” of Jesus.
“Although he is an experienced fisherman, he has experienced the bitterness of failure many times in the middle of the night and tried to give up in front of the empty net; although he is staunch and impulsive, he is often frightened; although he is an ardent disciple of the Lord, he constantly Following earthly logic to reason, I can’t understand and accept the meaning of Christ’s cross. Although I was prepared to give up my life for Jesus, I betrayed the teacher out of fear when I heard that I was suspected of being his disciple.”
Nonetheless, Jesus “loved him without asking for anything in return” and put the “bet on him.” Jesus “encouraged him not to give in, cast the net in the sea again, encouraged him to walk on the water, watch his weakness bravely, follow him on the road to the cross, lay down his life for his brothers, and shepherd his flock.” In this way, Peter “freed himself from fear and his mentality of relying only on human safety and working for the world.”
Jesus gave Peter courage to make him dare to take risks for everything, and he was willing to be a fisherman’s fisherman. Jesus specifically “calls him to strengthen the faith of all his brothers”, so Peter’s experience is a “history of opening up, gaining freedom, breaking the shackles, and getting out of closed prisons”, like the Israelites from the heavy yoke of Egyptian slavery . The Pope said, “Peter went through the Passover, and the Lord freed him from imprisonment.”
Likewise, the Apostle Paul also experienced the freedom that Christ gave him. His condition of enslavement was “heavier”, that was his “self”, “religious enthusiasm for persecuting Christians stubbornly”. The Pope said that Paul “was a rough man” and Christ set him free.
“Practicing religion in form and drew a sword to uphold tradition, not only fails to open him to love God and brothers, but makes him tough. He is a fundamentalist. God rescued him from this; God It did not save him from many weaknesses and predicaments: the hard work of the apostle, physical ailments, brutality and persecution, as well as capsize and thirst, all these made his mission of evangelization more fruitful.”
The Pope said, “Like Peter, we must break away from our sense of failure in the face of sometimes our setbacks; release from the fear that makes us incapable of action and timidity, and must not be closed in our sense of security and loss of prophetic courage. situation”. “Like Paul, we must break away from appearances of hypocrisy, not with the power of the world, but with the weakness of making room for God; to get rid of the religious rituals that make us rigid and stubborn, and from the ambiguity with power. The relationship and fear of being ununderstood and being attacked are released.”
Finally, the pope turned his thoughts to the archbishops who were about to receive the woolen straps. He said, “This sign of unity with Peter reminds the pastor’s mission to lay down his life for the flock.” Then he greeted the delegation of the Archbishop sent by Bartholomew I, saying, “The evil form of the division of Christians creates a distance between each other. On the journey of getting rid of this distance, your presence is a precious sign of our unity.” .
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