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To Confess the only Glory, Christ Crucified: Pope Francis’ first homily

Aleteia - published on 03/14/13

"If we do not confess Jesus Christ...we would become a pious NGO, but not the Church"

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In these three readings, I perceive a common theme: it is movement. In the first reading, movement in walking; in the second reading, movement in building the Church; in the third (the Gospel), movement in confessing: To walk, to build, to confess.
To walk. “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord (Is. 2:5). This is the first thing that God said to Abram: “Walk in my presence and be blameless” (cf. Gen. 17:1). To walk: our life is a journey and when we stop, things do not go well. To always walk in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live with that blamelessness that God asked of Abram in his promise (cf. Gen.17:2).
To build. To build the Church. It speaks of stones, and stones have substance. But these are living stones; stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. To build the Church, the Bride of Christ, on that cornerstone, which is the very Lord himself. Here is another movement in our lives: building. 
Thirdly, to confess. We may walk as much as we want, we may build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, it is all to no avail. We would become a pious NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord. When we do not walk, we come to a standstill. When we do not build with stones, what happens? The same thing that happens to children on the beach when they build sandcastles, it all comes tumbling down, it lacks substance. When we do not confess Jesus Christ – I remember the saying of Léon Bloy – “Whoever does not pray to the Lord, prays to the devil”. When we do not confess Jesus Christ, we confess the worldliness of the devil, the worldliness of the demon.
Walking, building-constructing, confessing. But it is not so easy, because in walking, in building, in confessing, sometimes there are shocks, there are movements that are not truly part of the journey: they are movements that pull us backward. 
This Gospel continues on with a particular situation. The same Peter who confessed Jesus Christ, tells him: You are Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let’s not speak about the Cross. It has no place here. I will follow you in other ways, without the Cross. When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross and when we confess a Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord: we are worldly. We are bishops, priests … everything … cardinals, popes … everything, everything … but not disciples of the Lord. 
I would like for all of us, after these days of grace, to have courage, that courage to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord, to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which he poured out on the Cross, and to confess the only glory, Christ Crucified! And in this way, the Church will continue on.  
My hope is that the Holy Spirit, through the prayer of Our Lady, Our Mother, will grant us all this grace – to walk, to build and to confess Jesus Christ Crucified! Amen.

Translated by Diane Montagna
PopeSunday Readings
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