6. Dear Brothers in the Episcopate! Christ repeats to us today:  "Duc in altum - Put out into the deep!" (Luke 5,4). Following His invitation, we may reread the triple munus entrusted to us in the Church:  munus docendi, sanctificandi et regendi (the ministry of teaching, sanctifying and governing (cf. Lumen Gentium, nn. 25-27; Christus Dominus, nn. 12-16).


Duc in docendo! (Lead in teaching). With the Apostle we will say:  "Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke and exhort - be unfailing in patience and in teaching" (II Timothy 4,2).


Duc in sanctificando! (Lead in sanctiying). The "nets" we are called upon to cast among men are, first of all, the Sacraments, of which we are the principal dispensers, governors, guardians and promoters (cf. Christus Dominus, n. 15). They form a sort of saving "net", which frees from evil and leads to the fullness of life.


Duc in regendo! (Lead in governing). As Shepherds and true Fathers, assisted by the Priests and other collaborators, we have the task of gathering the family of the faithful and in it fostering charity and brotherly communion (cf. Christus Dominus, n. 16).


As arduous and laborious a mission as this may be, we must not lose heart. With Peter and the first disciples we too with great confidence renew our sincere profession of faith:  Lord, "at your word I will lower the nets" (Luke 5,5)! At Your Word, O Christ, we wish to serve Your Gospel for the hope of the world!


We trust in your motherly assistance, O Virgin Mary. You who guided the first steps of the Christian community, be a support and encouragement for us also. Intercede for us, Mary, whom, using the words of the servant of God Paul VI, we invoke as "Help of Bishops and Mother of Pastors". Amen!






Castel Gandolfo
Sunday, 26 September 2004


1. This Sunday the Gospel presents the Parable of the "Rich Man" and the poor Lazarus (cf. Luke 16: 19-31). The rich man lived in opulence and luxury, ignoring the beggar on his doorstep. But after his death, the situation was reversed:  Lazarus was welcomed into Paradise, whereas the rich man ended up in torment.


The teaching found in the Parable is clear: all individuals must show not selfishness but solidarity in the use they make of their possessions.


2. This famous Gospel passage is particularly appropriate in reference to the problem of the imbalance between wealth and poverty in today's world. Precisely in the past few days, an important Meeting of Heads of State and Government was held in New York for a more supportive and effective action against "hunger and poverty". Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, also took part in it, showing the Holy See's support for this new initiative.


The Catholic Church assures her full commitment to uproot from the world the scourge of hunger and the other consequences of poverty. In this context I am pleased to recall the meeting of all the Nuncios in Africa that was recently held at the Vatican.


3. Let us pray to the Lord so that he supports the efforts made by the international community for justice and development in solidarity. This is indeed the way that can guarantee the world a future of peace.


We ask this through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom we entrust in a special way the families and peoples most sorely tried by the unjust distribution of the goods that God has made available for all his children.



After the Angelus, the Pope said: 


This coming Thursday, 30 September, we are to celebrate World Maritime Day, organized by the United Nations. My thoughts go out to all who work at sea, and I pray that they may be able to live with dignity and security.


I greet the English-speaking pilgrims here today and I entrust you all to the loving protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians.


Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Blesses 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, 30 September 2007


Dear Brothers and Sisters,


Today, Luke's Gospel presents to us the parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus (Luke 16: 19-31). The rich man personifies the wicked use of riches by those who spend them on uncontrolled and selfish luxuries, thinking solely of satisfying themselves without caring at all for the beggar at their door.


The poor man, on the contrary, represents the person whom God alone cares for: unlike the rich man he has a name: "Lazarus", an abbreviation of "Eleazarus", which means, precisely, "God helps him".


God does not forget those who are forgotten by all; those who are worthless in human eyes are precious in the Lord's. The story shows how earthly wickedness is overturned by divine justice: after his death, Lazarus was received "in the bosom of Abraham", that is, into eternal bliss; whereas the rich man ended up "in Hades, in torment". This is a new and definitive state of affairs against which no appeal can be made, which is why one must mend one's ways during one's life; to do so after serves no purpose.


This parable can also be interpreted in a social perspective. Pope Paul VI's interpretation of it 40 years ago in his Encyclical Populorum Progressio remains unforgettable. Speaking of the campaign against hunger he wrote: "It is a question... of building a world where every man... can live a fully human life... where the poor man Lazarus can sit down at the same table with the rich man" (n. 47).


The cause of the numerous situations of destitution, the Encyclical recalls, is on the one hand "servitude imposed.... by other men", and on the other, "natural forces over which [the person] has not sufficient control" (ibid.).


Unfortunately, some populations suffer from both these factors. How can we fail to think at this time especially of the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, affected by serious floods in the past few days? Nor can we forget the many other humanitarian emergencies in various regions of the planet, in which conflicts for political and economic power contribute to exacerbating existing, oppressive environmental situations.


The appeal voiced by Paul VI at that time, "Today the peoples in hunger are making a dramatic appeal to the peoples blessed with abundance" (ibid., n. 3), is still equally pressing today.


We cannot say that we do not know which way to take: we have the Law and the Prophets, Jesus tells us in the Gospel. Those who do not wish to listen to them would not change even if one of the dead were to return to admonish them.


May the Virgin Mary help us to make the most of the present time to listen to and put into practice these words of God. May she obtain for us that we become more attentive to our brethren in need, to share with them the much or the little that we have and to contribute, starting with ourselves, to spreading the logic and style of authentic solidarity.



After the Angelus:


I am following with deep apprehension the very serious events taking place in these days in Myanmar and I desire to express my spiritual closeness to this beloved population at the time it is passing through this painful trial.


As I assure my solidarity and intense prayers and invite the whole Church to do likewise, I fervently hope that a peaceful solution may be found for the Country's good.


I also recommend to your prayers the situation in the Korean Peninsula, where important developments in the dialogue between the two Koreas give hope that the efforts of reconciliation under way may be consolidated to the Korean People's advantage and to the benefit of stability and peace throughout the region.


I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's Angelus, including members of the Acton Institute, and administrators and benefactors of Seton Hall University. Today's Gospel reading reminds us to be generous with the good things we receive in life. In this spirit, may your visit to Castel Gandolfo and Rome be a time filled with thanksgiving and renewed love of the universal Church. Upon you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of Christ the Lord!


I address a cordial "goodbye" to the community of Castel Gandolfo: in the next few days, in fact, I shall be returning to the Vatican. Let us stay close in prayer! I wish you all a good Sunday.



Courtyard of the Papal Residence, Castel Gandolfo
Sunday, 26 September 2010



Dear Brothers and Sisters!


In this Sunday's Gospel (Luke 16: 19-31), Jesus tells the Parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus. The former lives in luxury and egoism and when he dies, he will go to hell. The poor man on the contrary eats the food left over from the table of the rich man, and at his death he will be brought by angels to his eternal dwelling place with God and the saints. "Blessed are you poor", the Lord proclaimed to his disciples, "for yours is the Kingdom of God" (Luke 6: 20). But the message of the parable goes further. It reminds us that while we are in this world we should listen to the Lord who speaks through the Sacred Scriptures and to live according to his will, otherwise after death it will be too late to repent. This parable teaches us two lessons: the first is that God loves the poor and comforts their humiliation; the second is that our eternal destiny is conditioned by our attitude, it is up to us to follow the path that God has laid out for us in order to attain life and this path is love, not intended as a feeling but as service to others in the charity of Christ.



By a happy coincidence, tomorrow we shall be celebrating the Liturgical Memorial of St Vincent de Paul, Patron of Catholic charities, on the 350th anniversary of his death. In 16th-century France, he himself keenly perceived the strong contrast between the richest and the poorest of people. In fact, as a priest, he had the opportunity to experience the aristocratic life and life in the country, as well as the dregs of society in Paris. Encouraged by the love of Christ, Vincent de Paul knew how to organize permanent forms of service for marginalized people, giving life to the so-called "Charitées" and "Charities", that is the groups of women who gave their time and belongings to the most marginalized people. Some of these volunteers chose to consecrate themselves completely to God and to the poor, with St Louise de Marillac, and St Vincent, Founder of the "Daughters of Charity" the first female congregation to live a consecrated life "in the world", with the common people, including the sick and the needy.



Dear friends, only Love with a capital "L" can bring true happiness! This is shown by another witness, a young girl who was proclaimed Blessed yesterday in Rome. I am speaking of Chiara Badano, an Italian girl born in 1971, who was afflicted by a disease that caused her death just before she turned 19. Despite her suffering, she was a ray of light [luce] as her nickname suggests "Chiara Luce". Her parish, the Diocese of Acqui Termi and the Focolare Movement to which she belonged, are rejoicing today and it is indeed a celebration for all young people who can discover in her an example of Christian devotion. Fully accepting the will of God, she spoke her last words: "Bye Mum. Be happy because I am". Let us praise God because his love is stronger than evil and death. Let us thank the Virgin Mary, who leads youth, through difficulty and suffering, to love Jesus and to discover the beauty of life.




After the Angelus:


I am very pleased to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present here this morning! In today's Gospel, the story of the rich man and Lazarus is held up to us as a warning to take special care of the poor in all circumstances. As followers of our blessed Lord, let us always look to others first, before we look to our own comfort. God's abundant blessings upon you all!


Dear friends, God willing, this Thursday, I will return to Rome, therefore, while I wish everyone a good Sunday, I would like to say a cordial "farewell" to the community of Castel Gandolfo.


Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies 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.  


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6 October 2013