Sunday 12 August 2001 

1. "You must be ready"! (cf. Luke 12,40). Christ's command, vigorously proposed again in today's Gospel passage, acquires a rare eloquence thinking of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (in the world, Edith Stein), Copatroness of Europe, whom the liturgy invited us to commemorate a few days ago. She died in the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau on 9 August 1942, with her sister Rosa and many of her people.


May the memory of her last act of love help humanity today to understand ever better the importance and value of life and the dignity of the human person.


2. We see life and human dignity violently trampled upon precisely in the Holy Land, with which St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross had strong spiritual ties.


In these days too, I have raised my voice many times, imploring inner peace for people in that martyred region, in the hope of seeing hands, disarmed at last, linked to form a chain. On the contrary, we continue to be submerged by images of desolation, lives cut short, bodies mutilated, families torn apart. This outbreak of unheard of brutality shows even more clearly how deceptive it is to claim that problems of justice and of the coexistence of peoples can be solved by recourse to violence.


3. Let us pray through the intercession of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross that good will may not be lacking in the political and military leaders of the warring parties. May they be able, before God and history, to ponder the urgent need to silence weapons. May they reflect on the future of the peoples entrusted to them; a future that cannot consist of hatred but brotherhood; not of confrontation but collaboration.


May Mary, Mother of Humanity and Queen of Peace, obtain for the Holy Land and for the whole world, brotherhood, mutual respect and peace.




After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the faithful in various languages; to the English-speaking pilgrims he said:


To the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors I extend cordial greetings and I thank you for your prayers and good wishes. I ask Almighty God to bless you and your families.


Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Blessed Pope John Paul II, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.  



Papal Summer Residence, Castel Gandolfo
Sunday, 12 August 2007


Dear Brothers and Sisters,


The Liturgy on this 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time prepares us in a certain way for the Solemnity of Mary's Assumption into Heaven, which we will be celebrating on 15 August. Indeed, it is fully oriented to the future, to Heaven, where the Blessed Virgin Mary has preceded us in the joy of Paradise.


In particular, the Gospel passage, continuing last Sunday's message, asks Christians to detach themselves from material goods, which are for the most part illusory, and to do their duty faithfully, constantly aspiring to Heaven. May the believer remain alert and watchful to be ready to welcome Jesus when he comes in his glory.


By means of examples taken from everyday life, the Lord exhorts his disciples, that is, us, to live with this inner disposition, like those servants in the parable who were waiting for their master's return. "Blessed are those servants", he said, "whom the master finds awake when he comes" (Luke 12: 37). We must therefore watch, praying and doing good.


It is true, we are all travellers on earth, as the Second Reading of today's liturgy from the Letter to the Hebrews appropriately reminds us. It presents Abraham to us in the clothes of a pilgrim, as a nomad who lives in a tent and sojourns in a foreign land. He has faith to guide him.


"By faith", the sacred author wrote, "Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go" (Hebrews 11: 8).


Indeed, Abraham's true destination was "the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (11: 10). The city to which he was alluding is not in this world but is the heavenly Jerusalem, Paradise.


This was well known to the primitive Christian community, which considered itself "alien" here below and called its populated nucleuses in the cities "parishes", which means, precisely, colonies of foreigners [in Greek, pároikoi] (cf. I Peter 2: 11). In this way, the first Christians expressed the most important characteristic of the Church, which is precisely the tension of living in this life in light of Heaven.


Today's Liturgy of the Word, therefore, desires to invite us to think of "the life of the world to come", as we repeat every time we make our profession of faith with the Creed. It is an invitation to spend our life wisely and with foresight, to consider attentively our destiny, in other words, those realities which we call final: death, the last judgement, eternity, hell and Heaven. And it is exactly in this way that we assume responsibility for the world and build a better world.


May the Virgin Mary, who watches over us from Heaven, help us not to forget that here on earth we are only passing through, and may she teach us to prepare ourselves to encounter Jesus, who is "seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead".




After the Angelus:


In the past few days serious floods have devastated various countries in Southeast Asia, claiming a heavy toll of victims and leaving millions homeless.


As I express my profound participation in the suffering of the afflicted populations, I urge Ecclesial Communities to pray for the victims and to support the initiatives of solidarity organized to alleviate the suffering of so many harshly tried people.


May these brothers and sisters of ours not lack the prompt and generous help of the International Community!


I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. In today's Gospel, Jesus exhorts his disciples to be watchful, ever ready to greet him when he comes.


During these quiet days of summer, may we welcome the Lord ever more fully into our hearts and allow his grace to transform our lives. Upon you and your families, I cordially invoke God's Blessing of joy and peace!


A good Sunday to you all!


Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Pope Benedict XVI, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.  



Courtyard of the Papal Residence, Castel Gandolfo
Sunday, 8 August 2010



Dear Brothers and Sisters,


In this Sunday's Gospel passage Jesus continues his teaching to the disciples on the value of the person in God's eyes and on the futility of mundane worries. This does not mean doing nothing. Indeed, on hearing Jesus' reassuring invitation: "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12: 32), our hearts open up to a hope which illumines and animates real life. We have the certainty that "the Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. Whoever has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life" (cf. Encyclical Spe Salvi, n. 2). As we read in the passage from the Letter to the Hebrews in today's Liturgy, Abraham with a trusting heart entered into the hope that God opened to him, the promise of a land and of "numerous descendants", and left "not knowing where he was to go", trusting only in God (cf. 11: 8-12). And Jesus in today's Gospel illustrates through three parables how waiting for the fulfilment of the "blessed hope", his Coming, should urge one more and more toward a profound life, rich in good works: "Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys" (Luke 12: 33). It is an invitation to use things unselfishly without thirsting for possession or dominion, but according to the logic of God, the logic of consideration for others, the logic of love: as Romano Guardini succinctly wrote, "in the form of a relationship: beginning with God, in view of God" (cf. Accettare se stessi, Brescia 1992, 44).



On that note, I wish to call attention to several Saints whom we are celebrating this week who based their lives on God and in view of God. Today we are commemorating St Dominic Guzmán, Founder in the 12th century of the Dominican Order which carries out the mission of instructing society on the truth of faith, preparing its members through study and prayer. In that same period St Clare of Assisi, whom we shall commemorate on Wednesday, promoted Franciscan works by founding the Order of the Poor Clares. On 10 August, we commemorate the Deacon St Lawrence, a Martyr of the 3rd century whose remains are venerated in the Basilica of St Lawrence Outside-the-Walls. Finally, we shall commemorate two other Martyrs of the 20th century who shared the same fate at Auschwitz. On 9 August we remember the Carmelite St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, and on 14 August, the Franciscan priest St Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Founder of the Militia of Mary Immaculate. Both passed through the dark time of the Second World War without ever losing sight of hope, of the God of Life and of Love.


Let us trust in the motherly support of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Saints, who lovingly shares our pilgrimage. To her we address our prayers.




After the Angelus :


I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. Today's Gospel reminds us that by God's goodness much has been given to us, and much will be required of us. During these quiet days of summer let us thank the Lord for the many blessings we have received and draw ever closer to him in prayer, in fidelity to his commandment of love, and in communion with his Body, the Church. Upon you and your families I invoke an abundance of joy and peace in the Lord! I wish you all a good Sunday and a good week, Thank you!


Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Pope Benedict XVI, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.  

18 August 2013



Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 11 August 2013



Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!


This Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 12:32-48) speaks to us about the desire for the definitive encounter with Christ, a desire that keeps us ever ready, alert in spirit, for we anticipate this encounter with all our heart, with all our being. This is a fundamental aspect of life. It is a desire that we all share, whether explicit or secret, we have hidden in our heart; we all harbour this desire in our heart.


It is also important to see Jesus’ teaching in the actual context in which he transmitted it. In this case, Luke the Evangelist shows us Jesus walking with his disciples to Jerusalem, walking to his death and resurrection at Easter, and on this journey he teaches them, confiding to them what he himself carries in his heart, the deep attitude of his heart: detachment from earthly possessions, his trust in the Father’s Providence and, indeed, his innermost watchfulness, all the while working for the Kingdom of God. For Jesus it is waiting for his return to the Father’s house. For us it is waiting for Christ himself who will come to take us to the everlasting celebration, as he did for his Mother, Mary Most Holy; he took her up to Heaven with him.


The Gospel intends to tell us that the Christian is someone who has a great desire, a deep desire within him: to meet his Lord with his brothers and sisters, his travelling companions. And what Jesus tells us is summed up in his famous phrase: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34). A heart full of desire. We all have desires. The poor ones are those who have no desire, no desire to go forward, toward the horizon; and for us Christians this horizon is the encounter with Jesus, the very encounter with him, who is our life, our joy, our happiness. I would like to ask you two questions. First: do you all have a desiring heart? A heart that desires? Think about it and respond silently in your hearts. I ask you is your heart filled with desire, or is it a closed heart, a sleeping heart, a heart numb to the things of life? The desire to go forward to encounter Jesus. The second question: where is your treasure, what are you longing for? Jesus told us: where your treasure is, there will be your heart — and I ask you: where is your treasure? What is the most important reality for you, the most precious reality, the one that attracts your heart like a magnet? What attracts your heart? May I say that it is God’s love? Do you wish to do good to others, to live for the Lord and for your brothers and sisters? May I say this? Each one answer in his own heart. But someone could tell me: Father, I am someone who works, who has a family, for me the most important reality is to keep my family and work going.... Certainly, this is true, it is important.

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25 August 2013