Commemoration of the third anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI

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Last Sunday, 20th April 2008, the Apostolic Nuncio to Malta,HE Mgr Tommaso Caputo celebrated mass at Ta’ Pinu Sanctuary to commemorate the third anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI. The Nuncio was accompanied by HE Mgr Mario Grech, bishop of Gozo.  

Homily of His Excellency Arcbishop Tommaso Caputo, Apostolic Nuncio to Malta
during the Eucharistic Celebration commemorating the 3rd anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI
National Shrine of Our Lady of Ta’ Pinu
April 20, 2008

1.   This Sunday’s Gospel refers us to the Last Supper. The Master discloses His last “intimate secrets” to His disciples. Jesus speaks about His return to the Father, of the place which he has prepared for them, of the path which they have to walk. It is within this context that Jesus proclaims as absolute the words which He alone could pronounce: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”.

     Our life is a path which we have to walk through. Sometimes we force ourselves to trace roads and paths for our life. Instead there is somebody who Himself is “the Way: Jesus, a Way for us pilgrims on earth, it is He who is our companion on the journey, who precedes us and leads us to the Father.

     Jesus is the Truth. We constantly tell half truths. Jesus is the truth in which man encounters his own truth. Jesus reveals man to himself and indicates to him which is his reality, what is his destiny.

     Jesus is the Life. Life is original, essential. If we have life, we exist. If we do not possess life we are nothing. When he told us “I am the Life”, Jesus attributes the sense of our existence. He affirms of being the origin and end of our existence.

     Today, the 5th Sunday of Easter, the Risen Jesus presents Himself to us as the Living One and the Giver of life. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

     It is He whom we want to follow along the road; it is he who we want to announce as the absolute truth, it is He whom we want to live.

2.   Today, in this National Shrine of Our Lady of “Ta’ Pinu”, we commemorate the third anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II and also the third anniversary of the election of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict the XVI.

     As we recall the person and the work of Pope John Paul II, we can certainly affirm that he found in Jesus is Way, is Truth, his Life.  For this reason, he was great in his guidance of the Church for twenty-seven years; great, too, in the mark he left on the history of humanity.

     But who was this Pope?

      Undoubtedly, he was the person who, in his days, met the greatest number of human beings. No one has personally encountered so many different people as Pope John Paul II. The distances covered by him in his apostolic journeys exceed by far the distances covered by his predecessors, exceed the distance from the earth to the moon and back again.

     But there is more. There is no doubt that he profoundly influenced the world situation. In the uncertainties and doubts of an epoch, he constituted a sure point of reference.

     In his life there existed an admirable synthesis of contemplation and action. He was, first of all, a man of prayer. He impressed people by the way he would be plunged in prayer. His attitude in prayer was one of deep recollection but, at the same time, quite natural and relaxed: giving evidence of deeply grounded communion with God and of intensely experienced and savoured prayer.

     His tenure of pontifical office saw him treading the ways of the entire world, thereby fulfilling in a remarkable way the Lord’s bidding: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28, 19).

     And he came also to Malta, on two memorable occasions. He came to Gozo, to this National Shrine, to pray at the feet of Our Lady of “Ta’ Pinu”.
3.   And, three years ago, the Lord gave us on the 19th April 2005, as a successor to Pope John-Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI.

     Many of us have studied the books of this great theologian: an expert during the Second Vatican Council and a lecturer in the most prestigious German Universities.  Pope Paul VI had chosen him to be Archbishop of Munich and Friezing and created him Cardinal. Pope John- Paul II wanted him to be one of his closest collaborators, entrusting him with the responsibility of being Prefect of the Congregation of the doctrine of the faith. 

     Those who know him admire in him his deep faith, his extraordinary intelligence, his delicate approach in human relations, his respect for the interlocutor, his clarity in his expositions and search for the truth.

     Believers and not believers are learning to see in Pope Benedict a solid and clear reference point.

     In his inaugural homily, Pope Benedict had told us: “My real programme of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church, to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by Him, so that He Himself will lead the Church at this hour of our history”.

     In our Holy Father we admire the courageous docility to the Holy Spirit’s inspirations, which is the guarantee of the permanent vitality of God’s Church.

     In these days, Pope Benedict XVI is visiting, as a pilgrim of hope, the United States of America, where, among his pastoral activities, he also addressed the United Nations. The Pope wanted to convey that , “Jesus Christ is the hope of all men and women of every language, race, culture and nation” and ” populations as well can find in Him direction and meaning, to build a fraternal ‘family,’ according to the design of God who is Father of everyone”. 

            Dear Brothers and Sisters, in remembering to-day, at the feet of Our Lady of Ta-Pinu, our beloved deceased John Paul II and in entrusting to Our Lady’s intercession the apostolic ministry, at the service of all the Church, of Pope Benedict XVI, let us renew our faith in the Holy Catholic Church. It is one of the articles of the Creed, which we shall shortly be reciting. Credo Ecclesiam:  I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

      We know how Malta, in two millennia, has offered to the world this certitude and this faith.

     Let us ask Mary, Our Lady of Ta-Pinu, to intercede the grace to follow Jesus, that we shall remain in His own sheepfold, which is the Church, and with Peter, Benedict XVI, we can proclaim “Jesus, You are the Christ, our Way, our Truth, our Life”. Amen.