He invited all Catholics, starting with pastors, to make a serious examination of conscience about what is more important in their own heart, to learn from Jesus’ example in the Gospel, and to be converted.
Christ “lived at a time of strong political polarization,” he said. “Four parties existed: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Herodians, and the Zealots. Jesus did not side with any of them and energetically resisted attempts to be pulled towards one or the other.”
“The earliest Christian community faithfully followed him in that choice, setting an example above all for pastors, who need to be shepherds of the entire flock, not only of part of it,” he added.
Pastors “need to ask themselves where it is that they are leading their flocks – to their position or Jesus’,” he said, also noting that “the Second Vatican Council entrusted especially to laypeople the task of translating the social, economic and political implications of the Gospel into practice in different historical situations, always in a respectful and peaceful way.”
Cantalamessa quoted Pope Francis’ words from paragraph 277 of Fratelli tutti, that “Others drink from other sources. For us, the wellspring of human dignity and fraternity is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. From it, there arises, ‘for Christian thought and for the action of the Church, the primacy given to relationship, to the encounter with the sacred mystery of the other, to universal communion with the entire human family, as a vocation of all.’”
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“The mystery of the cross that we are celebrating obliges us to focus precisely on this Christological foundation of fraternity which was inaugurated on Calvary,” the preacher said.
He explained that “if there is a special charism or gift that the Catholic Church is called to cultivate for all the Christian Churches, it is precisely unity,” as Pope Francis’ recent trip to Iraq demonstrated firsthand.
“To the One who died on the cross ‘to gather into one the dispersed children of God' (Jn 11:52), with a humble spirit and contrite heart we lift up the prayer addressed to him by the Church before Communion at every Mass,” he concluded.
“Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: Peace I leave you, my peace I give you; look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will. You live and reign forever and ever. Amen.”
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.