Yesterday, 150,000 people (give or take) packed St. Peter’s Square for Pope Benedict’s noon address. My view was literally a sea of people.
In fact, that was my view from all sides. Normally, I hate crowds, but this was really inspiring. It always is when thousands of people are quiet, listening to the pope, and praying together with him. Benedict is definitely well loved.
Reflecting on the Gospel reading for the Ascension, the pope said the Lord draws the gaze of the apostles — and us — heavenward to see how to journey through life. He also said the only thing we need fear is sin: We can avoid it by remaining deeply rooted in God by our solidarity, love, and service for others — what the Church, its ministers, and the faithful have done and continue to do for the spiritual and material welfare of people all over the world. It’s what the faithful do routinely, he said, especially in parishes, associations, and movements: to serve God in Christ’s name.