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The style of God means welcoming those who have nothing to give

· The Pope speaks at beginning of Mass with his former students ·

That we are continuing to live as pagans was the theme of the Holy Father's brief Address – with reference to the Gospel passage for this 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Lk 14:1, 7-14) – to the “Ratzinger Schülerkreis” who met with the Pope at Castel Gandolfo from 27 to 30 August. He spoke to his former students at the beginning of the Holy Mass concluding the meeting, which he celebrated on 29 August at the Mariopoli Centre. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, op, Archbishop of Vienna, Austria, delivered the homily. The following is a translation of the Pope's Words opening the celebration and of the Cardinal's homily. Both were in German.

Dear Friends,

At the end of today's Gospel the Lord makes us realize that we are continuing to live as pagans: in a spirit of reciprocity we invite only those who invite us, in turn giving to them what we receive from them.

God's style is quite different: we experience it in the Blessed Eucharist. Deaf, blind and lame as we are before Him, he invites us to his table. He invites us, who have given nothing to him. In this we feel above all grateful for the fact that God exists, that God is as he is, that God is as Jesus Christ is, that he welcomes us even though we have nothing to give him and are sinners, that he invites us to his table and wishes to be at table with us.

However, we also feel a sense of guilt at being so little different from pagans, of barely living this newness, in God's style.

And for this reason let us begin Holy Mass by asking forgiveness; a forgiveness that transforms us, that truly makes us like God, in his image and likeness.

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