Pope Benedict XVI's Homily for Ash Wednesday 2012

Another ancient commentary summarizes this beautifully: “Adam was created pure by God to serve Him. All creatures were created for the service of man. He was destined to be lord and king over all creatures. But when he embraced evil he did so by listening to something outside of himself. This penetrated his heart and took over his whole being. Thus ensnared by evil, Creation, which had assisted and served him, was ensnared together with him.”

As we said earlier quoting John Chrysostom, the cursing of the soil had a “medicinal”, or healing, function: meaning that God’s intention is always good and more profound, even than His own curse. The curse does not come from God but from sin. God cannot avoid inflicting the curse because he respects human freedom and its consequences even when they are negative. Thus, within the punishment and within the curse, there is a good intention that comes from God. When He says, “Dust you are and unto dust you shall return”, He intends inflicting a just punishment, but also announcing the way to salvation. This will pass through the Earth, through that same dust, that same flesh which will be assumed by the Word Incarnate.

Read it all.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Lent, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Preaching / Homiletics, Roman Catholic

2 comments on “Pope Benedict XVI's Homily for Ash Wednesday 2012

  1. Karen B. says:

    Thanks for posting this Kendall. It was a blessing to read. I really loved how the Pope focused on our need to trust in the merits of Christ above any merit of our own spiritual efforts and disciplines. It is easy to sometimes forget that during Lent and to fall into striving to be worthy on our own merits!

    I’ll be posting an excerpt from this tomorrow at Lent & Beyond.

    Thank you so much for all the wonderful prayers you post daily and other excellent resources which help enrich our spiritual lives.

  2. Karen B. says:

    P.S. Just discovered that Pope Benedict will be sending out a daily Tweet for Lent. I love it!