Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd Benedict XVI a spirit of courage and right judgement, a spirit of knowledge and love.
By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love, and peace for all the world.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I went to the late afternoon Mass before heading home. Fr. Pavlik was using the prayers from the Mass for a New Pope. He thought that the readings for today, which had nothing to do with today's events, were particularly appropriate:
Those who had been scattered by the persecutionthat arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but Jews.
There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however,who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The news about them reached the ears of the Church in Jerusalem,and they sent Barnabas to go to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart,for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. And a large number of people was added to the Lord.
Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the Church and taught a large number of people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.
From Psalm 87:
His foundation upon the holy mountains the LORD loves: The gates of Zion,more than any dwelling of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, O city of God!
I tell of Egypt and Babylon among those who know the LORD; Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia: "This man was born there."And of Zion they shall say:"One and all were born in her; And he who has established her is the Most High LORD."
They shall note, when the peoples are enrolled: "This man was born there." And all shall sing, in their festive dance: "My home is within you."
John 10: 22-30
The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter.
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,"How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
Jesus answered them, "I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father's name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one."
I find them all appropriate, especially John - "no one can take them out of the Father's hand." He has entrusted us, his sheep, to his Shepherd, who will look after us and help us move toward the Lord.
Fr. Pavlik said something else that I found interesting - that it is not enough to call yourself a Christian. A Christian can sit on his duff and do nothing. No, one has to be a disciple - a follower, a doer, someone who acts. Just as the first reading talks about how the disciples evolved into being called Christians, we as Christians must now evolve into being disciples. I have more thoughts about this, which I'll try to develop in future posts, but this is one of the roots of Catholic thinking - that there must be faith, but without works that faith is empty. Put another way: you can call yourself whatever you want, but would a true Christian simply sit on his faith and not let it inform the way he lived his life?