Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Edward is the author of “The Rigging of a Vatican Synod? An Investigation into Alleged Manipulation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family”, published by Ignatius Press. Follow him on Twitter @edwardpentin
The wisdom of the crucified Lord is a “sure compass,” and His love like a “spiritual GPS” that “unfailingly guides us towards the inner life of God and the heart of neighbor,” Pope Francis said today in his homily at Mass in Yangon.
Addressing an estimated 150,000 faithful at the Kyaikksasan sports ground this morning, the Holy Father encouraged those present to “keep sharing” the “priceless wisdom” of the love of God they have received.
“Jesus wants to give this wisdom in abundance,” the Pope said. “He will surely crown your efforts to sow seeds of healing and reconciliation in your families, communities and the wider society of this nation. Does He not tell us that His wisdom is irresistible?”
“His message of forgiveness and mercy uses a logic that not all will want to understand, and which will encounter obstacles,” the Pope continued. “Yet His love, revealed on the cross is ultimately unstoppable. It is like a spiritual GPS that unfailingly guides us towards the inner life of God and the heart of our neighbor.”
The Pope began his homily by saying how much he had been looking forward to the Mass — his first of two during his apostolic voyage to Burma — saying he wished to “listen and to learn from you, as well as to offer you some words of hope and consolation.”
Referring to the first reading from the Book of Daniel which recounts the limited wisdom of King Belshazzar and his seers, the Pope said they did not have the wisdom to “praise God” whereas Daniel had the “wisdom of the Lord” and could “interpret his great mysteries.”
Jesus, the Pope continued, is the ultimate interpreter of God’s mysteries. He did not teach with “long speeches” or through showing “political or earthly power” but by giving his life on the cross.
“Sometimes we can fall into the trap of believing in our own wisdom, but the truth is we can easily lose our sense of direction,” the Pope said. “At those times we need to remember that we have a sure compass before us, in the crucified Lord.”
The cross brings wisdom to “guide our life with the light that comes from God,” the Pope said, adding that Christ’s wounds also bring healing.
Recalling the long suffering and deep wounds endured by the Burmese people after six decades of military dictatorship, the Pope warned against responding to those injuries “with a worldly wisdom” like King Belshazzar, and think that healing “can come from anger and revenge.” The way of revenge is “not the way of Jesus,” the Pope said, but “radically different.”
“When hatred and rejection led him to his passion and death, he responded with forgiveness and compassion,” the Pope said. The gift of the Holy Spirit, he added, “enables us each to be signs of his wisdom, which triumphs over the wisdom of this world, and his mercy, which soothes even the most painful of injuries.”
In the Eucharist, we recognize not only Christ’s body and blood, but are also “cleansed of all our sins and foolish ways,” the Pope said. And by taking refuge in Christ’s wounds, one discovers the “healing balm of the Father’s mercy” and finds the strength to “bring it to others, to anoint every hurt and every painful memory.”
In this way, the Pope continued, “you will be faithful witnesses of the reconciliation and peace that God wants to reign in every human heart and in every community.”
The Pope then recalled how the Church in Burma, is “already doing much” to bring God’s mercy to others, especially those most in need, even with limited means.
He noted how many communities are “proclaiming the Gospel to other tribal minorities, never forcing or coercing but always inviting and welcoming.” And he praised how even “amid much poverty and difficulty, many of you offer practical assistance and solidarity to the poor and suffering.”
He singled out in particular the work of Catholic Karuna Myanmar, the bishops’ humanitarian arm, and the Pontifical Mission Societies.
Through such charitable work, the Church in Burma “is helping great numbers of men, women and children, regardless of religion or ethnic background,” the Pope said.
“I can see that the Church here is alive,” he concluded, “that Christ is alive and here with you and with your brothers and sisters of other Christian communities.”
After this morning's Mass, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo S.D.B., archbishop of Yangon, gave these words of thanksgiving:
This is a Mount Tabor Experience.
The simple Catholics have the stirring experience.
We are today transported to a mountain of bliss.
Life will be never same to Catholics in Myanmar.
Just a year ago, the thought that this little flock will be breaking bread with our Holy Father Francis would have been a just dream.
We are a small flock. We are like Zaccaheus. Amidst nations we could not see our shepherd.
Like Zaccaheus, we were called, come down, I want to come to your house. That is our Holy Father. Holy Father Francis: A good Shepherd goes after the small and those in the margin. You have broken the word and broken the bread.
Like the moving words of our Mother, we say again and again, "He has raised the lowly!" Our soul glorifies. Like the disciples at Mount Tabor we will go back. We go back with extraordinary spiritual energy, proud to be Catholics, challenged to live the Gospel.
This day, would remain in every human heart that is here.
Our dearest Holy Father! Every Catholic here with a grateful heart salutes your generosity. A miracle has been enacted today. We all go back as God's Miracle.
Thank you and this little flock pray for you.