Catholic World News

Pope blesses pallia, warns against being closed

June 29, 2016

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, and blessed the pallia that will be conferred on metropolitan archbishops by pontifical representatives.

As is customary, a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, led this year by Metropolitan Methodios Tournas of Boston, attended the Mass in honor of the patrons of Rome.

In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the theme of opening and closing and warned against “closed doors”—doors that can be opened through prayer.

“We can consider the symbol of the keys that Jesus promises to Simon Peter so that he can open the entrance to the kingdom of heaven, and not close it before people, like some of the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus reproached,” the Pope began.

He continued:

The reading from the Acts of the Apostles (12:1-11) shows us three examples of “closing”: Peter is cast into prison; the community gathers behind closed doors in prayer; and – in the continuation of our reading – Peter knocks at the closed door of the house of Mary, the mother of John called Mark, after being set free.In these three examples of “closing,” prayer appears as the main way out … Prayer, as humble entrustment to God and his holy will, is always the way out of our becoming “closed,” as individuals and as a community.

“Likewise decisive is the compassionate gaze of the Lord after Peter had denied him three times: a gaze that pierces the heart and brings tears of repentance (cf. Lk. 22:61-62),” the Pope added. “At that moment, Simon Peter was set free from the prison of his selfish pride and of his fear, and overcame the temptation of closing his heart to Jesus’ call to follow him along the way of the cross.”

Pope Francis also warned against fear, which he said “always paralyzes us; it makes us close in on ourselves, closed to God’s surprises.” A “constant temptation for the Church,” he added, is “that of closing in on herself in the face of danger.”


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