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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Homily Ss. Peter and Paul 29 June 2006

Every year, on the Feast of Saint Agnes, January 21st…
two young lambs are chosen from the fold of the Trappist monastery in Rome…
crowned…
placed in baskets decorated with flowers…
and carried in procession at Mass.

They are shown to the Pope, and placed in the care of Benedictine Nuns…
until Holy Thursday, when they are sheared.

From the wool of these young lambs
is made a special ecclesiastical vestment known as the pallium.

The pallium is a long band of white wool
that fits over the head and hangs down both in front and back…
and has six crosses embroidered on it.

It is worn ceremonially by the Pope and metropolitan archbishops…
as a symbol of their unity as brother bishops
and authority as successors of the Apostles.

On June 28th, the pallia woven from the lambs’ wool
are placed on the altar in the crypt of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

And today, the 29th of June, on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul…
each new archbishop personally receives his pallium from the Holy Father.

The pallium is rich in symbolism…

Those who wear this garment of wool around their necks
are the shepherds of the Church to whom Christ speaks:
“Feed my sheep.”

It is a powerful symbol of the strength which the Church possesses
as the Body of Christ…
founded on the Apostle Peter…
and united under the bishops, successors of the Apostles.


In Saint Peter, the first Pope…and Christ’s chosen vicar on earth…
and in Saint Paul, charged by Jesus Himself with teaching the Gospel…
we have a visible sign of the unity of the Church…
and of communion in faith and charity.

Unity is a hallmark of our faith and our Church.
As we profess in the Creed, the Church is One…the Church is Apostolic.

All who are baptized…and partake of the Body and Blood of Jesus…
are one body in Christ.

Jesus entrusted to Peter, to his brothers, and to their successors,
the mission of celebrating the sacraments,
teaching the truth of the Gospel,
and shepherding the people of God.
The Pope and the bishops form a college…
and together carry out that mission in our own day.

Thus, the Tradition of what Christ taught…and the Apostles handed down…
is safeguarded, guaranteed, and proclaimed
by those who remain united to Christ
and to the Church of the Apostles.

To remain united with the body of Christ is demanding for us…

It means professing faith in all the teachings He and His Church set forth…
even the difficult and unpopular ones…
such as the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life,
and the marriage covenant.

It means remaining obedient to the bishops…
obeying all that the Church asks of us in love.

It means receiving the sacraments worthily.

It means loving and trusting in a radical way, after the example of Christ.




Truly united to Christ in this way…
we find a source of lasting strength for our lives.

The chains which bind us fall from our hands…
as Christ rescues us from the power of evil.

God’s grace is bestowed on us through the ministry of the priests…
to whom is entrusted the power of binding and freeing
those caught in sin.

To all those who do as Saint Paul did…
who keep the faith..
who pour out their lives as a libation in humble service to the truth…
who submit to the will of Christ…
who loves us and wants the best for us…

to such as these is promised the crown of righteousness and eternal glory.

What strength is found in the bond of unity with Christ and the Church!
Even the power of hell shall not prevail against her.

.As we celebrate those to whom Christ first entrusted His body, the Church..
may we who dare to partake of the one bread and the one cup
answer the call to be truly one in every way with Christ,
and by what we say and do…bring those we meet ever closer to the one fold.

1 comment:

KeepingtheFaith said...

Thank you for the explanation of pallium. I never knew the details.
Are the two lambs Peter and Paul?