This is the first Papal Mass that I have missed during Pope Benedict's glorious reign. It's a shame that EWTN does not see it fit to air a replay in lieu of its regular Sunday evening programming. It seems that the network chooses to air the replay at a time when most people are at Mass. But, that is for another post.
At least, insofar as the homily is concerned, I have the Google translate button to help me. As usual, the homily is classic Benedict. He begins by tying in the ministry of the Successor of St. Peter and of the cardinals with today's Gospel reading:
St. Peter wanted so very much to be with Jesus. Last Thursday, one of the optional memorials was that of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts. Peter and Paul. The Gospel reading gives the account of Jesus walking on the water, on his way to the boat to meet the Apostles. After Peter realizes that it is, in fact, Jesus, he begins to walk on the water, at the Lord's invitation, to be with him. However, Peter begins to doubt as the sea is lashing about him, and he starts to sink. He pleads, "Lord, save me." Jesus stretches out his hand and rescues Peter. It is Peter's intense desire to want to be where Jesus is that, ironically enough, led to his denial of the Lord. He followed Jesus as far as he could, but, when he was discovered, Peter did not have the courage to profess that he knew Jesus, that Jesus was his friend and Lord. He ended up denying the very Lord with whom he wanted to be. But, like the Good Thief, Peter received forgiveness. He undid the damage that his triple denial had done by thrice professing his love to Jesus. Jesus, for his part, reaffirms Peter's mission of feeding and tending the sheep of His Church.
It is precisely this mission of feeding and tending the sheep of Christ's church and how this relates to the Cross that Pope Benedict points out in his homily. We cannot separate ourselves from the Cross of Christ. Jesus continually challenges us to take up our crosses and follow him, and not separate ourselves from that cross. If we separate ourselves from the Cross of Christ, we are then like the rulers, the soldiers and the first thief who want Jesus to come down from that cross.
Even those of us who are not cardinals are called to this fundamental principle of the cross. St. Paul tells us that we should glory in the Cross of Christ. He tells us that he wants to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The Cross is also the real seat of power, the real throne of our King. In his meditations on the Way of the Cross, Pope Benedict wrote that Pilate was a prophet inspite of himself, when he inscribed "This is the King of the Jews" on the board above Jesus' head. Despite his weakness and his motives, Pilate managed to get one thing right, the Kingship of Jesus.
There is also that element of marriage. Marriage, one might ask, and celibacy, how does that compute? When a prelate is elevated to the rank of cardinal, he receives a ring directly from the Holy Father. Pope Benedict explains its significance: