On Saturday 22nd October 2016, Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna celebrated Mass on the occasion of the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland, at St Paul’s Cathedral, Mdina.
Homily by Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna
St Paul’s Cathedral, Imdina
22nd October 2016
On 22nd October 1978 when Karol Woytyla, Pope John Paul II, in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican pronounced those very famous words: “Aprite le porte a Christo”, ‘Open the doors for Christ.’
This is what we are celebrating today on the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland – Poland opening its doors to Jesus Christ. As we celebrate 1050 years of Christian culture, of proud Catholic witness, the holy saints are without number, John Paul II canonised a great number of them as well. We are now celebrating the wonders, God himself, through his mercy, he ‘robbed’ the hearts and minds of this great Apostle of the Nations, John Paul II.
We are grateful to him because he visited our Islands twice, first in 1990 and then in 2001. He was the Pope who gave us our first three Blesseds and prepared the way for the canonization of our first saint St George Preca. We are truly indebted to this great son of Poland: Pope John Paul II.
We are also indebted to this great Catholic country in Europe for its resilience, for the witness of perseverance in time of great suffering. We have always admired the Polish people for the fight for freedom and we pray today that the newly acquired freedom does not make Poland forget its Christian roots that we celebrate today. There are also the same temptation of we Maltese, of forgetting our Christian roots on the altar of liberalism and random greed for money.
Thus, today we need to come together to praise the Lord for great men and women who brought us, both Polish and the Maltese communities, the glad tidings of the Gospel. They have announced true peace to us, they have brought us the good news of salvation. Thus, we who have our own president, acknowledge God as our true King and we both nations who have glorified and honoured by our flags in white and red, also treat Our Lady as our Queen.
We thank the Lord today for the gift of baptism. Baptism means being incorporated in Christ, adopting Christ as our true Head and also growing into a witness of the Body of Christ as St Paul said to the Ephesians: “until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ” (Eph 4, 13).
The Lord puts this question to us individually and as nations today: “Do you love me?” Our prayer is that we can and may respond with Simon Peter, his successors including John Paul II and all the saints: “Yes, Lord I love you, you know that I love you” (cfr Jn 21, 17). This is a challenge, it is easier to hear the question than to answer it. That is why, as Prof. Zelon reminded us at the beginning of Mass: a Jubilee is also a time for reconciliation. Therefore, Poland is celebrating with great joy the fiftieth Jubilee Year from the Millenium and it is a time for reconciliation, it is the time when we go back to Jesus and say: “I am weak but you know that I love you, you know that I need your mercy in order to continue on my pilgrimage”.
In Poland as well as Malta we face great temptations, as all nations do throughout their history, we are truly in need of the Divine Mercy. What Saint Kowalska Faustina has told us, and so we are also grateful for this renewed message of Divine Mercy that comes from Poland. We pray that you also share in this divine inspiration and the divine vocation to live dependent on the mercy of God because that is the way of true holiness, the way to persevere in our baptismal vows. We pray also the Maltese saint today for our communities, we pray that we, though sinners and though very weak, may be faithful to our calling through the intercession of Our Lady of Czestochowa and through all saints who intercede for us.
✠ Charles J. Scicluna
Archbishop of Malta
Photos: Curia Communications Office