In his address, which the Holy Father delivered without a written script, he invited his listeners to be thankful for the fact that “we are here together on this Laetare Sunday, that we sing together, that we listen to the Word of God together, that we listen to each other, all looking to the one Christ and, thus, rendering testimony to the one Christ.”
Benedict XVI was welcomed with prolonged applause in the Christuskirche on the Via Sicilia in Rome. The choir, composed of Lutherans and German Catholic seminarians, intoned Mozart’s “Jubilate Deo.”
…Benedict XVI was also already familiar with the church. In 1998, when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he met with the Lutheran community during its annual festival.
The young pastor of the community, Jens-Martin Kruse, began his homily acknowledging that “for us it is truly a day of joy.” Pastor Kruse’s homily, appropriately themed for “Laetare Sunday,” was a commentary on the meaning of Christian joy.
Citing St. Paul, he invited his listeners to advance along the way of Christ together, everyone “for each other” and “in tribulation consoling each other with the consolation by which we are consoled by God.”
I wish I could have been there. The visit reminds me of his Holiness’s recent visit to the Jewish Synagogue. Despite all the controversies, what can be seen is that both Roman communities – the Jews and the Lutherans – have a love for the Holy Father which is reciprocated tenfold by Pope Benedict himself.
What do we have to do to translate this good will into action?