“Why this trip to Malta? There are many reasons. First, St. Paul. The Pauline Year for the universal church has ended, but Malta is celebrating 1,950 years since the shipwreck, and this occasion once presents us with the figure of the Apostle to the Gentiles and his message which is still authentic and important for today. I think one can synthesize the essential point in words he himself used at the end of the letter to the Galatians: ‘Faith expressed in charity.’ This is something important also today, that faith, a relationship with God, transforms itself into charity.
I also think the memory of the shipwreck says something to us. For Malta, the opportunity to have the faith was born with the shipwreck. We can also think about how the shipwrecks of life can be part of God’s project for us, and be useful for a new beginning in our life.
The second reason is that it makes me happy to be in the midst of a lively church like the one in Malta, with a deep sense of tradition still today, full of faith, in the middle of our world and responding to the challenges of our times. I know that Malta loves Christ, and loves his church which is his body, even if this body is wounded by our sins, it still loves this church and its gospel, which is the true force that purifies and heals.”