Vatican City, 28 June 2014 (VIS) – Below are extensive extracts from the homily the Holy Father prepared for his planned visit to the Roman “Agostino Gemelli” Hospital, which he did not attend due to a mild indisposition. The homily was read on behalf of the Pontiff by Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, during the Mass celebrated at the hospital yesterday.
“God is bound to us, He chose us, and this bond is for ever, not because we are faithful but because the Lord is faithful and tolerates our infidelity, our slowness, our lapses. God is not afraid of bonding with us. … He loves these bonds, he creates bonds; bonds which free, rather than constrain”.
“Nowadays, in particular, fidelity is a value under threat, as we are induced always to seek change, presumed novelty, negotiating the roots of our existence, of our faith. Without fidelity to its roots, however, a society does not move ahead; it may make great technical progress, but not the full progress of all man and all humankind. God's faithful love towards His people was made manifest and fully realised in Jesus Christ … [who] remains faithful and never betrays; even when we err, He always awaits us to forgive us: He is the face of the merciful Father”.
“This love, this faithfulness to the Lord demonstrates the humility of His heart. … We are able to experience and savour the tenderness of this love in every phase of life: in times of joy and of sadness, in times of health and of infirmity and sickness. God's faithfulness teaches us to welcome life as a manifestation of His love and enables us to bear witness to this love to our brethren in humble and meek service. This is what the doctors and paramedical staff in this hospital, which belongs to the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, are especially called upon to do. Here, each one of you brings to the sick a little of the love from Christ's Heart, and you do so with competence and professionalism. This means staying faithful to the fundamental values that Fr. Gemelli placed at the base of this university for Italian Catholics, to unite scientific research enlightened by faith to the preparation of qualified Christian professionals”.