Pope shows simplicity in unscripted homily
MANILA, Philippines – The Jesuit pontiff delivered his homily in 7 minutes, without a script.
Disarming the world with his simplicity, the newly elected Pope Francis on Friday morning, March 15 (Philippine time), presided over his first Mass as head of over 1.2 billion Catholics.
Throughout his homily, Francis appeared like a regular parish priest. For one, he did not speak from the seat reserved for the Supreme Pontiff, as his predecessor Benedict XVI usually did.
Instead, the first Latin American pope approached the lectern, and from there, delivered an unscripted homily that made use of ordinary metaphors, such as a “pitiful” NGO and children building sandcastles.
Francis also spoke in Italian, unlike Benedict who delivered his first homily as pontiff in Latin.
Even before his papacy is inaugurated on Tuesday, March 19, the new Pope has already dropped clues on his brand of leadership – through simple acts like the way he delivered his homily.
'Pitiful' NGO, sandcastles
Frequently making hand gestures, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires warned the Church against a lack of faith.
“We can walk as much as we want, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail. We will become a pitiful NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of Christ,” said the Pope, a Latin American named Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
He added: “When one does not built on solid rocks, what happens? What happens is what happens to children on the beach when they make sandcastles: everything collapses, it is without consistency.”
A champion of the poor who comes from a working-class family, Francis also cautioned against faith that neglects sacrifice.
“When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord,” Francis told his fellow cardinal electors during the Mass in the Sistine Chapel.
'Bless me first'
Since the time he appeared at the Vatican balcony on Thursday (Philippine time), Francis has shown he is bent to break tradition.
For one, he wore a simple white cassock unlike his predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who wore ornate vestments when they first appeared as pope.
Francis also surprised the public when he asked them a “favor.”
He said: “Before the Bishop blesses the people, I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me – the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer – your prayer for me – in silence.” (Watch Rappler's video report below.)
On Thursday, the Vatican added Francis shunned the "Vatican One," a special chauffeur-driven limousine, after he was picked as pontiff. Instead, “he preferred to take the minibus with the other cardinals.”
Even after his election as pope, Francis also returned to his lodging house, packed his bags, and paid the bill for his room “so as to set a good example,” said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.
The Pope is said to be named after St Francis of Assisi, a 12th-century saint known for abandoning his wealth for a life of poverty. – Rappler.com