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Monday, 27 October 2008 - His Beatitude Participated in the Closing Mass of the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

Vatican, Italy

On Sunday the 26th October 2008, in the Vatican Basilica, at the tomb of the Apostle Peter, the Holy Father Benedict XVI presided the Solemn Celebration of the Eucharist with the Synod Fathers, for the conclusion of the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which was celebrated in the Synod Hall of the Vatican from 5 until 26 October 2008, on the theme The Word of God in the Life and the Mission of the Church.

His Beatitude Nerses Besdros XIX Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia for Armenian Catholics was among the 326 Synod Fathers and collaborators that concelebrated with the Pope, of which 52 are Cardinals, 14 Heads of Eastern Catholic Churches, 45 Archbishops, 130 Bishops and 85 other Presbyters.

During the Sacred Rite, after the proclamation of the gospel, the Holy Father gave the homily in which he said, "The Word of the Lord, which echoed in the Gospel earlier, reminded us that all of Divine Law is summarized in love and the Evangelical page we are focusing on sheds light on the meaning of being disciples of Christ which is practicing His teachings, that can be summarized in the first and greatest commandment of Divine Law, the commandment of love. Saint Paul writes to the Thessalonians, leading them to understand that, while having known them for such a short time, he appreciated them and bore affection in his heart for them. Because of this, he points to them as “an example to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia” (1 Th 1:6-7). There is no lack of weaknesses or problems in this recently founded community, but love overcomes all, renews all, wins over all: the love of who, knowing their own limits, docilely follows the words of Christ, the Divine Teacher, transmitted through one of His faithful disciples. “You took us and the Lord as your model, welcoming the word with the joy of the Holy Spirit in spite of great hardship”, the Apostle wrote. He continued: “since it was from you that the word of the Lord rang out -- and not only throughout Macedonia and Achaia, for your faith in God has spread everywhere” (1 Th 1:6.8). The lesson that we can draw from the experience of the Thessalonians, and experience that is a common factor in every authentic Christian community, is that love for the neighbor is born from the docile listening to the Divine Word and accepts also hardships for the truth of the divine word and thus true love grows and truth shines. It is so important to listen to the Word and incarnate it in personal and community existence!

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