VATICAN CITY, NOV. 24, 2010 (Zenit.org).- God's justice allows those who have given their lives for him to gain eternal life, Benedict XVI is affirming.
The Pope stated this today during the funeral of Cardinal Urbano Navarrete, who died Monday at age 90.
God's justice "does not permit that all those who have given their life for God lose it definitively," the Pontiff affirmed.
"The luminous truth of faith of eternal life comforts us every time we render the last greeting to a deceased brother," he said.
The funeral Mass was celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, together with other prelates.
The Holy Father gave the homily, in which he recalled Jesus' teaching that "whoever agrees to put the Kingdom of God first, to leave home, father and mother for it, who is prepared to lose his life for this precious treasure, will inherit eternal life."
In this context, he exhorted all to look "at the mystery of the incarnation, passion, death and resurrection of Christ, where our authentic justice rests, gift of God's mercy."
Benedict XVI affirmed, "Divine grace poured in abundance over us through the redeeming blood of Christ crucified, washes our faults, frees us from death and opens to us the door of eternal life."
"In Christ," he continued, "man finds again the way of salvation, and also human history receives its point of reference and its profound meaning."
"Christ's ardent salvific will illumines life after death," the Pope said. "Jesus wills that those whom the Father has given him be with him and contemplate his glory."
Hence, he added, there is "a destiny of happiness, of full union with God, that follows the fidelity with which we have remained united to Jesus Christ on our earthly journey."
The Pontiff affirmed that this will be "entering in that communion of saints where the peace and joy of taking part together in Christ's glory reign."
Teacher of justice
The Holy Father recalled the life of Cardinal Navarrete "with a moved and grateful spirit," describing him as a "teacher of justice."
"The scrupulous study and passionate teaching of canon law represented a central element of his life," Benedict XVI said.
He underlined the cardinal's passion for "educating especially the young generations, to true justice, that of Christ, that of the Gospel," and "spending himself with a humble disposition, in the different situations in which he was placed by obedience and God's providence."
The Pope recalled the cardinal's words about his own priestly and religious vocation: "I never doubted my choice. I never doubted that this was my way, not even in moments of controversy."
For the Pontiff, this affirmation "summarizes the generous fidelity of this servant of the Church to the Lord's call, to God's will."
He continued: "With the equilibrium that characterized him he used to say that there were three fundamental principles that guided him in his study: much love for the past, for tradition, because whoever in the scientific field, and particularly the ecclesiastical, does not love the past is like a child without parents; then sensibility to the problems, the needs, the challenges of the present, where God has placed us; finally, the capacity to look and open up to the future without fear, but with hope, the one that comes from faith."
It is "a profoundly Christian vision that guided his commitment to God, to the Church and to man in his teaching and works," the Holy Father affirmed.
Cardinal Navarrete, he continued, "is one of the faithful disciples that the Father gave Christ to be with him, he was with Jesus in the course of his long life, he knew his name, loved him by living in intimate union with him, especially in long moments of prayer, where he drew from the source of salvation the strength to be faithful to the will of God in every circumstance, including the most adverse."
"He learned this as a child from his family, thanks to the luminous example of his parents -- especially his father -- who were able to create in the family a climate of profound Christian faith, fostering in their six children, three of whom were Jesuits and two religious, the courage to witness to their faith, putting nothing before the love of Christ and doing everything for the greater glory of God," Benedict XVI stated.
He concluded, "It was this look of faith that sustained the long life of our venerable brother, and it is this faith that he preached."