“Tonight we are gathered around the tomb of the Apostle Peter, to request his intercession for the Church’s journey at this particular time, renewing our faith in the Supreme Pastor…”
At these words my mind jumped immediately ahead and I thought that yes, he is reminding us that we must still trust in the Holy Father. But that was not what he was saying at all. He continued:
“Our faith in the Supreme Pastor, Christ the Lord.” What a humble and beautiful thought from one who is the Supreme Pastor of the Church on earth.
Throughout his homily, the Holy Father continued this theme, focusing on the words of the Lord spoken by prophet Joel, “Turn to me with all your heart.” And when at the end of the Mass we all applauded for as long as we could, until he had to stop us by beginning the final prayer, we could see that he was moved, but also, I think, a little uncomfortable, and that is what is most beautiful of all. His whole work as Pope has been to lead us toward Christ, and this was the message he wished to leave with us.
Yes, we do always have a Pope! The Pope’s role is to be the Supreme Pastor of the flock, but only as the representative of Christ. Our true Pastor, the Good Shepherd, is always with us. With what gentle humility Benedict again sought to turn our eyes from himself to Christ and remind us that Popes come and go, but Christ always remains!