Pope Benedict will soon (as of the time of this writing) be in the Vatican Basilica for 1st Vespers of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, followed by the singing of the Te Deum for the close of this year of salvation. Then he will go to visit the Presepio in St. Peter’s Square.
I am streaming this on Fr Z TV.
Here are a few rapid sketches from his sermon, delivered in Italian. He makes some references to specific issues for the Diocese of Rome (he is the bishop there, after all) which I have reduced to more generic references:
In the Person of Christ Jesus, God entered into man’s time and remains with us.
With the coming of Christ, we are in the fullness of time.
Christmas calls to mind this fullness of time and the salvation He brought.
Man’s time is burdened with evils (carico di mali), sufferings, drama of every kind, those provoked by man and those brought by natural disasters. But in a definitive way we have the new joy and liberating joy of Christ the Savior.
In the Babe of Bethlehem we can contemplate the encounter with eternity in time, which the liturgy of the Church loves to express.
Christmas helps us see God made flesh humble and helpless as a baby. Doesn’t this help us see God love in the difficult times of daily life?
At the end of 2010, before consigning these days to the merciful justice of God, I need to raise our thanks to Him for His love for us.
The Church of Rome is tasked to help all the baptized live faithfull their vocations. to be Christians we must meditate on the Word of God. I want to encourage this through a lectio divina.
The Word of God was made flesh for us and His Truth is accesible to all men and all cultures.
The privileged place for hearing the Word of God is the celebration of the Eucharist. I want to encourage pastors and priests to attend to the pastoral program I gave (for the Diocese of Rome).
Nourish by Christ we also are drawn to the same act of total self-gift that drove the Lord to give His own life, revealing in that way the immense love of the Father. The witness of charity, therefore, is an essential theological dimension united to the proclamation of the Word of God.
This time of anxiety for the precarious state of families begs us to be clsoe to those who are in poverty and distress. May God, infinite love, enflame our hearts with charity.
“Dear brothers and sisters, we are invited to look to the future and regard it with that hope which is the final word of the Te Deum: “In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum! – Lord, have I hoped. Let me not be confounded in eternity.” In giving ourselves to Christ, our Hope, you, O Mother God, are always present. As once to the shepherds and Magi, may your arms and even more your heart continue to offer the world the Jesus, your Son and our Savior. In Him is all our hope, for from Him come the salvation and peace of every man. Amen!”
A few images: