vendredi, février 17, 2006

Requiem Mass for Pope John Paul II ( Sermon )

Requiem for Pope John Paul II

For 26 years, his face has become so familiar. We got accustomed to his voice that we have heard for more than a quarter of century preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in so many languages. Since October 16th 1978, day of his election when he immediately won over the Italian public with his allusion to his Italian language:
Non so se posso bene spiegarmi nella vostra... nostra lingua italiana – I don’t know if I can speak well in your… in our Italian language. And the first non-Italian Pope after many centuries was made Italian just in few seconds.
During his last days, he couldn’t even more speak, but his spirit so lively, I’m sure, was still alert to carry the cross until the end. His departure from this life will remain for a long time a beautiful testimony of the sense of life and of the human dignity, a great example of the acceptance of suffering and finally of death. Pope John Paul II has truly lived what he had always preached, and that made him a true apostle of Jesus Christ. As Saint Paul he could say: I don’t want to preach anything else but Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ crucified! It is what he did, all over the world, with an extreme courage and strength despite a bad physical health throughout his last years. For many years, the media have been waiting in vain for a possible renunciation. Yet the Pope has always said that he would remain in charge until the end. And Karol Wojtyla, for anyone who knows his life, was not the kind of man who easily changed his mind. Once again, he did what he said he would, and remain faithful to his duty until the very last moment.
The Pontificate and the life of Pope John Paul II were so intense, so rich and so long that it may be almost impossible to evoke all now. We will have time to recall the moments of his life, as we do for a close friend or a member of our family who has just passed away. Indeed, he was truly a member of our family, as the visible head of the mystical body of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And when the head is sick, the entire body feels pain. When the head is away, all the members feel this absence. That is the reason for which we miss him. It’s like if Christ were hidden, and in a certain way, He is, actually because His Vicar on earth has just passed away. One of his predecessor, Pius XII, had written well about the unity that exists in this mystical body. You know that I am far from being a charismatic. Faith is not a matter of feeling. Nevertheless, it happens sometimes that faith becomes sensible. Personally, every time I have seen the Pope, I felt something. And today, since he is no longer among us, I feel something.

But beyond the sadness of the present moment there is so much joy. The joy for what the Pope has been doing for 26 years. I remember personally some great moments with him, in my country when he came in 1996 for the 15th centenary of the Baptism of Clovis, event that has made France the Elder daughter of the Church. I was at this time a seminarian, and the retreat of the beginning of the year was almost finished in our seminary in Germany. Someone knocked on my door and an older seminarian asked me if I wanted to go to France. I answered: “Yes of course.” I haven’t seen my country for 5 days – that is a long time! – and I was so excited about going back to home, especially to see the Holy Father in Reims, place of the Coronation of our Kings. “Ok, says the seminarian. You have been chosen by the rector of the seminary to be in the delegation that will represent the seminary of Wigratzbad. We leave in two hour, be ready!” I packed in ten minutes! Then a 10 hours drive to arrive on the bivouac place, just at time for the night procession. The night was short and cold, and the whole time we could hear hundreds of buses driving into the military airbase where the Pope would arrive for the Mass on the morning.
What an atmosphere in this place on this day! While the Masonic lodges were making their poisonous remarks about the arrival of the Pope in a country that is supposed to be the model of laity, while the leftists, homosexuals, free thinkers, and all the people claiming the so called right of men were expressing their hatred throughout the country, we were here a few thousand to pray with the Holy Father in peace and joy. My country was discovering again its roots buried in the darkness of the Satanic Revolution. The light of Christ was still shining. The Pope asked us in 1980, during his first visit: “France, elder daughter of the Church, what have you done with the promises of your Baptism?” And we were here 16 years later to answer : “ Look, Holy Father, there is still some faith in this country. There is still some hope, and still some charity. There are still many young people who have no other desire that to build a new Christian society. There are still volunteers to join the seminary or a religious community or to create authentic Catholic families. Look Holy Father, Christ has still some disciples in this country.” I could never forget this day.

I have many other memories that I cannot tell now, but I have to recognize that because of the Pope John Paul II, I had in my life the chance to live great moments of faith. And he is the Pope who recognized us by creating the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei in 1988. We should be grateful for that. Too often we consider that what we have is due to us. And it’s true that there is a right to the Tridentine mass. It is not merely a concession given to us for a kind of goodness. It’s a real right, and thanks be to God this right is officially and publicly recognized in the Church because of Pope John Paul the II. But not all is due to us and this assertion can be heard at all the levels, don’t forget that. You should give thanks for what you have already received rather than to claim and ask always more. He that has ears to hear, let him hear!
Now I can hear some objections. “But this Pope was the Pope of Assisi. He kissed the Koran etc…” We can draw up a list of what the Pope did wrong. In fact it’s easy to find the defects and errors of other people. Why do we have so many difficulties to find ours? So the Pope did some good things and he did others that are not up to us to judge, because the Pope cannot be judged by anyone on earth. “Prima sedes non judicatur a quoquam!” No one can pass judgment on the Pope. This old saying, back to Pope Saint Marcellinus in the III century became an established principle. The Pope is the highest authority on earth whoever he is. And this authority comes from Christ. It was given to Peter in order to feed the sheep of the Lord. That happened after the Resurrection when Jesus appeared to Peter and asked him: “Simon, son of John, lovest thou me?” And Peter would hear this question three times. After the third answer, Christ confirmed him in his mission: Feed my sheep! Peter can fail, Peter can be wrong, but Peter remains the Shepard that feeds the sheep of Christ. Christ told him: “ Follow me! ”
Pope John Paul II was a man of flesh as Peter was, as we all are. He could fail and could be wrong in matters not pertaining to the teaching of faith and morals. But I’m sure that he has always loved his Lord and followed Him. We don’t have to judge him. Our duty was rather to support him and pray for him, as we will have to do for his successor. The white cassock is heavy to wear, and the Pope needs our support and prayers.
Tonight our parish wants to pay tribute to Pope John Paul II and we offer this sacrifice and our prayers for the repose of his soul. This humble and modest tribute is a mark of love and gratitude for him. The Pope has spent his life for the service of God and of others, for the sheep of God, for us. He was at the end of his life exhausted for having worked for the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray now for him, for that he finally can find peace and rest.
And let us turn toward Our Lady. Pope John Paul II has loved her so much. As a disciple of Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort, he was totally consecrated and devoted to the mother of Jesus. Totus tuus! It was certainly not a coincidence if the attempt to murder him was precisely on May 13th in 1981, date anniversary of the apparitions of Fatima. There is a disconcerting connection between this Pope and Fatima. And it is certainly not a coincidence too, if he died just few weeks after sister Lucia. Both have done what they had to do. Now, Our Lady brings together her children.

I would like to conclude with this prayer of the Pope that he wrote in his encyclical letter Veritatis Splendor:
O Mary, mother of mercy, watch over all people so that Christ’s cross was not in vain, so that man does not stray from the path of the good or become blind to sin, but so that he puts his hope ever more fully in God who is rich in mercy. May he carry out generously the good works prepared by God beforehand, and so live completely in praise of his glory.

1 commentaire:

Father Demets a dit…

Dear Tradosaurus,

If Pope John Paul II was an heretic, then let us wait for the verdict of the Church. As I said in my homely, nobody can judge the Pope who is the highest authority of the Church.
And if he were an heretic, so that gives another reason to pray for the repose of his soul. I don't mean that heretics go to heaven, which contradicts the teaching of the Church. But we have no way to know about the status of the dead, except for the Saints canonized by the Church who are for sure in Heaven.
Even an heretic can convert at the last moment of his life. Saint Alphonse of Liguori gives many examples of graces of conversion given to some persons just before they died, through the intervention of Our Blessed Mother.
And Pope John Paul II had a great devotion for Our Lady.

So whatever is the case for John Paul II ( only God knows ), I don't think you can say that praying for him is against your conscience. If he is in Hell, your prayers will not be lost and God can use them for something else. If he is in purgatory, they will be useful. If he is in Heaven, same thing that for Hell !

God bless you

Father Laurent Demets