Pope Francis’ homily for Benedict calls him a ‘faithful friend’ of Jesus
In his homily, Pope Francis recalled how Jesus’ last words – “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” – summed up the “unceasing self-confidence” in God that had defined Benedict’s life.
Francis did not mention Benedict by name until the last line, in which he referred to Jesus as the bridegroom of the church. “Benedict, faithful friend of the Bridegroom, may your joy be complete in hearing his voice, now and forever.
But in addition to mourning Benedict as a former church pastor, the Pope’s brief speech included lines that could be interpreted as referring to the soft-spoken German theologian whose life’s work was to meditate on the life of Jesus, and who faced many challenges as pope before his retirement in 2013.
“Like the Master, a shepherd bears the burden of interceding and the burden of anointing his people, especially in situations where goodness must struggle to prevail and where the dignity of our brothers and sisters is threatened,” Francis said. . “During this intercession, the Lord quietly bestows the spirit of meekness that is willing to understand, accept, hope, and risk, despite any misunderstandings that may result.”
Francis added that “attached to the last words of the Lord and to the testimony of his whole life, we too, as an ecclesial community, want to follow in his footsteps and place our brother in the hands of the Father.
“May these merciful hands find his lamp lit with the oil of the Gospel which he shed and witnessed to all his life,” he said.
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