Dear friends in Christ
The Christian Faith teaches us charity towards every single person without exception. It is a charity extended especially to those who ill-treat us since the way of the disciple follows that of the Master. However, this obligation is, in the first instance, towards those who are closest to us: our family and friends. We have a duty to those we live and work with to show them the face of Christ. Charity is above all expressed by our readiness to pray for others, that they may be moved by divine inspiration to be conformed to the mind of Christ. As Christians we can never rest until we have made Jesus better known and loved, even by those who remain closed to Him. The Gospel of this Sunday again impresses upon us the need for this continual work of extending the hand of Jesus Christ to everyone without exception.
This weekend nineteen Bishops - including Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster - are raised to the dignity of Cardinal by Pope Francis. A Cardinal (form the Latin word for a hinge) is one of the closest collaborators of the Holy Father and they have the task of electing a new successor on the death of the Pope. Their robes are red to signify their willingness to lay-down their lives - usque ad sanguinem - for the person of the Pope. The newly created Cardinals come from each of the five Continents which expresses the geographical and cultural diversity of the Church but which is always one in Faith. This Faith was first professed by St Peter, the Rock on which the Church is founded. We pray that the new members of the College of Cardinals will help and support our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in the enormity of the task him: to confirm the Faith of all of Christ followers.
God bless you!
Fr Kevin Hale