Celebrating the life of Pope Benedict XVI
Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the death of Pope Benedict XVI (30/12/2022)
Today I join with the church throughout the world, and especially with the Holy Father, Pope Francis, and all in the Catholic Church, in mourning the death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
In Pope Benedict’s long life and ministry of service to Christ in His Church he saw many profound changes in the church and in the world. He lived through the Nazi regime in Germany and served briefly in the Second World War. As a younger theologian and priest he witnessed first-hand the discussions of the Second Vatican Council. As a professor and then as an Archbishop he lived in a divided Germany but saw too the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of his homeland.
Pope Benedict was one of the greatest theologians of his age – committed to the faith of the Church and stalwart in its defence. In all things, not least in his writing and his preaching, he looked to Jesus Christ, the image of the invisible God. It was abundantly clear that Christ was the root of his thought and the basis of his prayer.
In 2013 Pope Benedict took the courageous and humble step to resign the papacy, the first Pope to do so since the fifteenth century. In making this choice freely he acknowledged the human frailty that affects us all. In his retirement in Rome he has led a life of prayer and now he has gone to the eternal rest granted by the Father. In his life and ministry Pope Benedict strove to direct people to Christ. May he now rest in Christ’s peace, and rise in glory with all the Saints.
Text for the Reflection
1 Samuel 2:1-2
“Arise; shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
This chapter is written in a poetic form which is a different genre from some of the earlier chapters. Isaiah mixes both the prose and poetic genres in his prophetic book. This chapter centers on the Abrahamic theme that those who bless him will be blessed and those who curse him will be cursed. (Genesis 12:3; 27:29). Zion is summoned to enter into the light that is hers and then to observe and react to the nations as they gather to the same light. The Lord in all the glory of his person and majesty will appear and will then magnetize the nations out of darkness into light. This text connects well with our current season as we celebrate the birth of Christ who is the light of the Lord. He came into the world that was covered by the darkness of sin and brought light to us. This is why in the gospel of John He is referred to as light. As Christians, are we being attracted to this light, or we are repelling it? for Christmas to be meaningful to us we should embrace the light and walk out of the darkness. May the Lord bless us all and may His perpetual light continue to shine on us.
ALMIGHTY God, who hast poured upon us the new light of thine incarnate Word; Grant that the same light enkindled in our hearts may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen