HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS
A short while ago we said in the Responsorial Psalm "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Ps 34: 1). Let us praise him today for the Sixth World Meeting of Families, celebrated successfully in Mexico City last January, in whose organization and programme you took part in various ways. I am deeply grateful to you. I also offer a cordial greeting to Cardinals Ennio Antonelli, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop Primate of Mexico, the leader of this pilgrimage to Rome.
In reading the Acts of the Apostles we heard from St Peter's lips, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5: 29). This fully agrees with what John's Gospel tells us: "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life" (Jn 3: 36). Thus the word of God speaks to us of an obedience that is not mere subjection nor a mere fulfilment of mandates but is born from intimate communion with God and consists in an insight that can discern what "comes from above" and "is above all". It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit which God grants "without measure".
Dear friends, our contemporaries need to discover this obedience which is not theoretical but vital, which means opting for a practical form of behaviour based on obedience to God's will which renders us completely free. Christian families with their domestic life, simple and happy, sharing day after day their joys, hopes and anxieties, lived in the light of faith, are schools of obedience and an environment of true freedom. Those who have lived their marriage in accordance with God's plan for many years, like some of those present, testify to the goodness of the Lord who helps and encourages us.
Christ is truly present in the Eucharist; he is the Bread which comes down from Heaven to replenish our energy and enable us to face the effort and exertion of the journey. He is beside us. May he also be the best friend of those who are receiving First Communion today, transforming them within so that they may be his enthusiastic witnesses to others.
Let us now continue our Eucharistic celebration, invoking the loving intercession of our Heavenly Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, so that we may receive Jesus and have life and, strengthened with the Eucharistic Bread, may be servants of true joy for the world. Amen.
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