"Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae; vita, dulcedo et spes nostra, salve."
I think the liberals that are so happy today that we have a "latin american Pope" are going to be quite unhappy when they realize that what they really have is a Catholic Pope.
In his first sermon Pope Francis said all that there is to say. He can just repeat this same sermon for the rest of his pontificate and it will be as fresh and relevant as it is today. I can sum it up in just a few words, "Jesus Christ is Lord!"
In his first homily as Pope, and speaking in Italian without a text, Francis noted that the three readings have something in common: “Movement. In the first reading the movement is the journey; in the second the movement is the building of the Church; in the Gospel the movement is in the witness. To walk, to build, to witness.”
The pontiff recalled that the first thing God said to Abraham was: “'Walk in my presence and be blameless.' Our life is a path. When we stop walking there is something that isn't right. To walk always in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live the blamelessness that God asks of Abraham in His promise.”
“To build,” he continued, “to construct the Church. This means stones. Stones are solid but these are living stones, stones that are anointed by the Holy Spirit. To build the Church, the Bride of Christ, on the cornerstone that is the Lord himself.”
“To witness … We can walk when we want to, we can build many things, but if we do not witness to Jesus Christ then it doesn't matter. We might become a philanthropic NGO but we wouldn't be the Church, the Bride of the Lord. When we don't go forward we stop...we go backwards. When we don't build on rock, what happens? The same thing that happens to children when they build sandcastles at the beach. They wind up falling down because they have no solidity.” Then, citing Leon Bloy, the Holy Father affirmed: “Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil” because “when we don't witness to Jesus Christ, we witness to the worldliness of the devil.”
“To walk, to build, to witness. But this is not so easy because when we walk, when we build, when we witness, at times there are upsets, there are movements that aren't proper to the journey. They are movements that pull us back.”
“In the Gospel,” the Pope continued, “even Peter who confessed Jesus as Christ, says to Him: 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I will follow you but let's not talk about the Cross. That doesn't have anything to do with it. … I'll follow you, without the Cross.” But, “when we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess a Christ without the Cross … we aren't disciples of the Lord. We are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.”
“And I wish that all of us, after these grace-filled days, might have the courage, yes, the courage to walk in the Lord's presence with the Cross of the Lord, to build the Church on the blood of the Lord that is poured out on the Cross and to witness to the sole glory: to the crucified Christ. And thus the Church will move forward.”
“I wish for us all that the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of Mary, our Mother, grant us this grace: to walk, to build, and to witness to Jesus Christ.”
After the homily, the Prayers of the Faithful prayed for the new pontiff and also for His Holiness Benedict XVI, “that he may serve the Church while hidden to the world, in a life dedicated to prayer and meditation.”
When the Holy Father says "caminare, edificare, confesare" (to walk, to build, to witness) it reminds me of Julius Caesar's famous quote "veni, vidi, vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered). Let us then conquer through our witness to Christ the whole world.
Though he was in the form of God,
he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him,
and bestowed on him the name which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!