Sunday, May 28, 2006

Benedict's homily, again

I was interested to see what would be left of Pope Benedict's homily if one took out the explicitly Christian/theistic parts—but left in quotations from Jesus as a teacher. The full text is here. Here's my version.
Dear brothers and sisters. I thank the cardinal primate for the words that he addressed to me. I greet all the bishops here present. I am glad that the president and the authorities of national and local government could be here. I embrace with my heart all the Polish people both at home and abroad.

"Stand firm in your faith!" We have just heard the words of Jesus: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. With these words Jesus reveals the profound link between faith and the practice of a life inspired by the commandments.

This action is manifested as an inner force that makes [the disciples] capable of loving. Hence faith is a gift, but at the same time it is a task.

Every Christian is bound to confront his own convictions continually, even when it is demanding and, humanly speaking, hard to understand. We must not yield to the temptation of relativism or of a subjectivist and selective interpretation of [Jesus' teachings]. Only the whole truth can open us.

Faith does not just mean accepting a certain number of abstract truths about the mysteries of man, of life and death.

What other response can we give if not that of a heart that is open and ready to love?

This is achieved through continuous prayer, praise, thanksgiving and penance.

Jesus showed us with a new clarity the unifying center of the laws revealed on Sinai, namely love of neighbor: "To love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mark 12:33).

In this spirit, Jesus formulated his list of the inner qualities of those who seek to live their faith deeply: Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who weep, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for justice, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake ... (cf. Matthew 5:3-12).

Dear brothers and sisters, faith is revealed as love that prompts us to promote the good inscribed into the nature of every man and woman among us, into the personality of every other human being and into everything that exists in the world. Whoever believes and loves in this way becomes a builder of the true "civilization of love,"
Having constructed this version of Benedict's homily, I'm not clear what faith has to do with it. This is all about love and compassion. Why is faith invovled?

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