On Thursday, 2nd December, a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated in Westminster Cathedral to mark the retirement of the Papal Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz. The following is an extract from the homily preached by Archbishop Nichols:
“In the first reading, from Isaiah, we learn again that the Lord is an everlasting rock. On this rock is built the city, a city of stability, of justice and of strength, qualities which enable the city not to be a closed fortress but a place of confident welcome for all.
These are qualities which we see in Pope Benedict: the quiet yet clear stability and clarity of his faith and leadership which seeks always to include those who wish to enter and are ready to accept the ways of the Catholic faith. I think, at this moment, of the way in which the Holy Father is leading us to welcome a number of clergy and parishioners from the Church of England into full communion within the new provision of the Ordinariate. This development will take place in the New Year, and we are ready to respond generously to this leadership of the Holy Father.
The Gospel passage from St Matthew develops this same theme of the ‘everlasting rock’. The city built on rock becomes the Church built on the foundation of Christ’s own Word, which has the same rock-like qualities: reliability, firmness, strength. Whatever may come our way, as long as we ‘listen to these words and act on them’ then the Church will not fail, despite all our own failings.
As we listen to these words about building on rock, the rock of the Word of God, who fails to recall the other words of the Lord, spoken to Peter: ‘You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church’ (Mat 16.18). Indeed with the ministry of Peter the Church is given the gift of such leadership that it will not fail. The rock of the Word is placed in the hands of the rock of Peter. For this we thank God with all our hearts.”
To read the full text, click here.