At this moment, the college of cardinals is united in prayer with the whole Church, asking God’s aid in order to select the Bishop of Rome. Here are a few thoughts from Cardinal Sodano’s homily, which he finished just moments ago.
1. After offering a word of gratitude to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (which received a heartwarming applause), the cardinal spoke of the mission of the bishop of Rome as the continuing of Christ’s mission of mercy. The pope is Christ’s vicar, called above all to “break the bread of the Word of God” offering Christ to all.
2. Call to unity. Referring to the second reading (from Ephesians), Sodano pointed out the pope’s call to protect the unity of the Church: “Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together,” says St Paul. This unity is one of the treasures of the Church, which even Christ himself prayed for at the Last Supper: “that they may be one…”
3. Total gift of service. Like Peter, the holy father is called to a total service of love, offering himself without reserve.
Let us continue to pray as the conclave begins today, that the Holy Spirit continue to guide the Church, and that the next Pope will be ready to live up to this great mission.