Vatican City (Monday, 10/20/2014, Gaudium Press) – In the presence of 70,000 people, according to Vatican Radio, gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, October 19th, Pope Francis beatified Pope Paul VI in a ceremony which at the same time closed the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI attended the solemn Mass.
In his homily Pope Francis commented on the Gospel of the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. He began reflecting on the famous passage of St. Mathews Gospel saying “We have just heard one of the most famous phrases in the entire Gospel: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:21). Goaded by the Pharisees who wanted, as it were, to give him an exam in religion and catch him in error, Jesus gives this ironic and brilliant reply. It is a striking phrase which the Lord has bequeathed to all those who experience qualms of conscience, particularly when their comfort, their wealth, their prestige, their power and their reputation are in question. This happens all the time; it always has.
Certainly Jesus puts the stress on the second part of the phrase: “and [render] to God the things that are God’s”. This calls for acknowledging and professing – in the face of any sort of power – that God alone is the Lord of mankind, that there is no other. This is the perennial newness to be discovered each day, and it requires mastering the fear which we often feel at God’s surprises.
… Paul VI truly “rendered to God what is God’s” by devoting his whole life to the “sacred, solemn and grave task of continuing in history and extending on earth the mission of Christ” (Homily for the Rite of Coronation: Insegnamenti I, 1963, p. 26), loving the Church and leading her so that she might be “a loving mother of the whole human family and at the same time the minister of its salvation” (Encyclical Letter Ecclesiam Suam, Prologue), he concluded. (JSG)