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Humankind is in God's hands

During the episcopal Ordination of five of his close collaborators, Benedict xvi explained the Bible Readings, as is his custom on important occasions. And he did so with his usual lucidity – a clarity which Ratzinger always combines with depth – using the method of the actualization of Scripture. This traditional Christian way of explaining, used since the most ancient times, dates back to Jesus himself and is rooted in Judaism.

The Pope spoke to the new Bishops, thereby addressing the whole Church and carrying out the service proper to the Pontiff. He emphasized this in his Visit to the Diocese of Viterbo, recalling his Predecessor, Leo the Great, the first Successor of Peter whose preaching has come down to us almost entire; it has remained exemplary in the tradition of the Church of Rome.

Thus, to the faithful gathered in St Peter's – and to all Catholics and all who want to pay attention to his words – Benedict xvi explained the meaning of being a Bishop and of serving in any office of responsibility in the Church on the basis of the signs in the Liturgy and the profound meaning of the Scriptures that converge to show that humankind is in God's hands. However, we must open ourselves to this God – and this is what the liturgical sign of silence implies  – because the gravest wound is, precisely, being far from him.

The task of the Bishop and of those who want to serve in the Church is therefore primarily to heal the wound of distance from God. After the example of Jesus, who describes through parables the characteristics that must distinguish those who truly wish to be servants: faithfulness, prudence, goodness.

Naturally, with the imperfect condition of human beings, marked by sin, this is far from easy. Even in St Paul's time disputes were rife among the Christian community. But all who are called to the different responsibilities are duty bound not to work for themselves but for the community and for the common good; keeping their hearts firmly oriented to God, in whose hands every human creature is welcomed and kept safe.

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