Vatican City, 22 February 2016 (VIS) – At 10.30 a.m. today, the Solemnity of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle, the Holy Father presided at a Holy Mass celebrated in the Vatican Basilica for the Jubilee of the Roman Curia, the Governorate and the Institutions of the Holy See. All the participants, including the Pope, then carried out a procession of faith from the Paul VI Hall to the Basilica, passing through the Holy Door.
"At this time, the Lord Jesus addresses a question to every one of us: 'But who do you say that I am?'. A clear and direct question, from which it is not possible to escape or remain neutral, nor is it possible to postpone the answer or delegate it to someone else. But there is nothing inquisitional about this; instead, it is full of love! The love of our only Master, Who today calls us to renew our faith in Him, recognising Him as the Son of God and the Lord of our life. And the first one called to renew his profession of faith is the Successor of Peter, who bears the responsibility of confirming his brothers".
"Let us allow grace to form again our heart so as to believe, and open our mouth to fulfil the profession of faith and obtain salvation. Let us, then, make Peter's words our own: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God'. May our thought and our gaze be fixed on Jesus Christ, the beginning and end of every action of the Church. He is the foundation and no-one may lay another. He is the 'stone' on which we must build. St. Augustine recalls this with expressive words when he writes that the Church, although agitated and disturbed by the upheavals of history, does not fall down, because she is built on stone, from which Peter's name is derived. It is not the stone that derives its name from Peter, but Peter from the stone, just as it is not the name Christ that derives from Christian, but Christian from Christ. The stone is Christ, the foundation on which Peter too was built".
Francis emphasised that "from this profession of faith there derives, for each one of us, the task of responding to this call from God. Pastors, first and foremost, are required to have as a model God Himself Who takes care of His flock. … It is also good for us, called to be Pastors in the Church, to let the face of God the Good Shepherd illuminate us, purify us, transform us and restore us, fully renewed in our mission. In our workplaces too may we feel, cultivate and practice a strong pastoral sense, especially towards the people we encounter every day. May no-one feel neglected or mistreated, but may everyone be able to experience, especially here, the loving care of the Good Shepherd".
"We are called upon to be God's collaborators in a task as fundamental and unique as bearing witness by our existence the strength of the grace that transforms and the power of the Spirit that renews. Let us allow the Lord to free us from every temptation that distances us from the essence of our mission, and let us rediscover the beauty of professing our faith in the Lord Jesus. Faith to the ministry matches well with the mercy we wish to experience. In the Sacred Scripture, indeed, faithfulness and mercy are inseparable. Where there is one there is the other, and it is precisely in their reciprocal nature and complementarity that we can see the very presence of the Good Shepherd. The faithfulness that is required of us is that of acting in accordance with Christ's heart. As we have heard in the words of the apostle Peter, we must tend to our flock with a generous heart and become a model for all. In this way, 'when the Chief Shepherd appears', we will be able to receive 'the crown of glory that will never fade away'".