St Peter's Square
A few days ago I had the joy of presenting the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. For several years there has been the need for a short catechism that would sum up simply but completely all the essential elements of Catholic doctrine. Divine Providence brought this project to fruition on the same day that the Cause for the Beatification of our beloved John Paul II was introduced; this has given the Compendium a definite boost. While I thank the Lord for this, dear brothers and sisters, I would like once again to stress the importance of this useful and practical instrument for the proclamation of Christ and his Gospel of salvation.
The Compendium, in an imaginary dialogue between master and disciple, summarizes the broadest explanation of the Church's faith and of Catholic teaching contained in the Catechism, which was published by my Venerable Predecessor in 1992. The Compendium takes up its four closely-connected parts, enabling one to grasp the extraordinary unity of the mystery of God, his saving plan for all humanity, and the centrality of Jesus, the Only-begotten Son of God made man in the womb of the Virgin Mary and who died and rose for us. Present and active in his Church, particularly in the Sacraments, Christ is the source of our faith, the model for every believer and the Teacher of our prayers.
Dear brothers and sisters, how necessary it is at the beginning of this third millennium that the entire Christian community, unanimously and of one accord, proclaim, teach and witness to the full to the truths of the Catholic faith, doctrine and morals! May the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church also contribute to the hoped for renewal of catechesis and evangelization so that all Christians - children, young people, adults, families and communities -, docile to the action of the Holy Spirit, may become catechists and evangelizers in every environment, helping others to encounter Christ. We ask this with trust in the Virgin Mother of God, Star of Evangelization.
After the prayer of the Angelus the Pope said:
G-8, that is, the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the world's most industrialized countries, will open Wednesday, 6 July, at Gleneagles, Scotland. One of its priorities will be Africa, a Continent that is often ignored. I warmly wish this important meeting full success, in the hope that it may lead to sharing the costs of the reduction of the debt in solidarity, to implementing concrete measures to uproot poverty and to promoting authentic development in Africa.
After the Angelus the Pope greeted pilgrims in their various languages. To the English-speaking faithful he said:
I warmly welcome the English-speaking visitors present at this Angelus prayer. I pray that your time here in Rome will encourage you to follow the example of Sts Peter and Paul with confidence and generosity.
A pleasant Sunday to you all!
Papal Summer Residence, Castel Gandolfo
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I would first like to address an affectionate and grateful greeting to the Authorities and to the entire Civil and Ecclesial community of Castel Gandolfo who always give me a warm and attentive welcome during my stay. My thoughts are now already turning to Australia where, please God, I shall be going next Saturday, 12 July. Indeed, the Twenty-Third World Youth Day will take place in Sydney, in the south-east of the Country. In recent months the "Youth Day Cross" has travelled through the whole of Oceania and in Sydney will once again be a silent witness of the pact of alliance between the Lord Jesus Christ and the new generations. The celebration to welcome the young people is planned for 15 July. The great Prayer Vigil will take place on Saturday, 19 July, and the Eucharistic celebration, the culminating and conclusive event, on Sunday the 20th. The Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference has organized everything very carefully, with the practical supported and cooperation of the Civil Authorities. The first groups of young men and women are now setting out from the other continents bound for Australia. I invite the whole Church to feel that she shares in this new phase of the great youth pilgrimage through the world, begun in 1985 by the Servant of God John Paul II.
The upcoming World Youth Day announces in advance to be a new Pentecost: indeed, Christian Communities began preparation already a year ago, following the guidelines I indicated in my Message on the theme: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1: 8). This is the promise that Jesus made to his disciples after the Resurrection and that is still valid and timely in the Church: the Holy Spirit, awaited and received in prayer, instils in believers the ability to be witnesses of Jesus and his Gospel. The Divine Spirit, filling the Church's sails, urges her "to put out into the deep" ever anew, from generation to generation, to bring everyone the Good News of God's love, fully revealed in Jesus Christ who died and rose for our sake. I am sure that Catholics from every corner of the earth will join me and the young people gathered in Sydney, as if in an Upper Room, insistently invoking the Holy Spirit so that he will fill their hearts with inner light, with love for God and for their brethren and with courageous initiative in introducing Jesus' eternal message into the variety of languages and cultures.
The World Youth Day Cross is accompanied by the icon of the Virgin Mary. Let us entrust this journey in Australia and the Youth Meeting in Sydney to her motherly protection. In addition, on this first Sunday in July I wish to invoke Mary's intercession so that the summer season may offer to all the opportunity for a period of rest and of physical and spiritual renewal.
After the Angelus:
Tomorrow, 7 July, the Heads of State and Government of the G8 Member Countries, together with other world leaders, will be meeting in Japan for their annual Summit. In these days many voices have been raised - including those of the Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences of the Nations mentioned - to ask for the implementation of the commitments made at previous G8 Meetings and for all the necessary measures to be adopted to put an end to the scourges of extreme poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy which still affect such a large part of humanity. I join in this pressing appeal for solidarity! Thus I address the participants in the Meeting at Hokkaido-Toyako, asking that they make the centre of their deliberations the needs of the weakest and poorest people whose vulnerability today has increased because of financial speculation and instability and their pernicious effect on the price of foodstuffs and energy. I hope that generosity and farsightedness will help them take the decisions capable of relaunching a fair process of integral development to safeguard human dignity.
I greet with affection the children and those accompanying them who are taking part in the "2008 International Festival of Child Artists", organized by the "Soong Ching Ling Foundation of Italy". Love, concord, harmony and solidarity are the values you wish to promote in China and in the other countries of the world. Art and culture can unite peoples: children represent the future of the human family and are, therefore, rightly called to build a more beautiful and more human world. Your presence permits me to send a greeting of peace and joy to all your peers in China and in the world.
In Chinese he said: A greeting to you all!
I am happy to welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Angelus. During these months many will be taking their annual holiday. Let us pray that all who are travelling on the roads will do so in safety, with prudence and respect for others. In this way our summer break will truly be a time for relaxation, family life and friendship. In today's Gospel we are reminded by Jesus that children welcome the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us purify our hearts so that, like them, we may receive in simplicity the will of God and follow generously day by day the path marked out for us. I wish you all a pleasant stay in Castel Gandolfo and Rome, and a blessed Sunday!
St Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the Gospel today the Lord Jesus repeats to us the words that we know so well but that never fail to move us: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
As Jesus went along the roads of Galilee proclaiming the Kingdom of God and healing many sick people, “he had compassion on the crowds, for they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (cf. Matthew 9:35-36).
Jesus’ gaze seems to extend to this day, to our world. Today, too, it rests on so many people oppressed by difficult living conditions and lacking valid reference points to find a meaning and a purpose for their existence. Exhausted multitudes are found in the poorest countries, harshly tried by poverty; and even in the richer countries there are numerous dissatisfied men and women who are even ill with depression. Let us think of the many evacuees and refugees, of all those who emigrate, putting their own lives at risk. Christ's gaze then rests his gaze upon all these people, indeed upon each one of these children of the Father who is in Heaven and repeats: “Come to me, all...” of you.
Jesus promised he would give everyone “rest”, but on one condition: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart”. What is this “yoke” which lightens instead of burdening, which instead of oppressing, uplifts? The “yoke” of Christ is the law of love, it is his commandment which he bequeathed to his disciples (cf. John 13:34; 15:12). The true remedy for humanity's wounds, both material — such as hunger and injustice in all its forms — and psychological and moral, caused by a false well-being, is a rule of life based on fraternal love, whose source is in the love of God. For this reason it is necessary to abandon the way of arrogance, of violence used to obtain ever more powerful positions, to assure oneself of success at any price.
It is also necessary to give up the aggressive attitude with regard to the environment which has prevailed in recent centuries and to adopt a reasonable “gentleness”. However, in human, interpersonal and social relations above all, the rule of respect and of non-violence, namely, the power of the truth against every kind of abuse is what can assure a future worthy of the human being.
Dear friends, yesterday we celebrated a particular liturgical Memorial of Mary Most Holy, praising God for her Immaculate Heart. May the Virgin help us to “learn” true humility from Jesus, to take up his light yoke with determination, to experience inner peace and to become in our turn capable of comforting other brothers and sisters who are walking with difficulty on life's path.
After the Angelus :
Dear brothers and sisters, I join in the joy of the Church in Romania, in particular of the Community of Satu Mare where today János Scheffler is being beatified. He was bishop of that diocese and died a martyr in 1952. May his witness always sustain the faith of those who remember him with affection and that of the new generations.
I am pleased to greet the English-speaking visitors here today, especially the candidates for the permanent diaconate from the Diocese of Elphin, Ireland, who are here with their wives. In today's Gospel, Jesus invites all of us to come to him, whatever burdens we may be carrying, whatever labours we may be engaged in, because in him we will find rest. At this time of year when so many of you are taking your annual holiday, I pray that you will truly find refreshment for body and spirit and an opportunity to rest in the Lord. May God bestow his blessings of joy and peace upon all of you, and upon your families and loved ones at home.
I wish you all a good Sunday and a good month of July. In the next few days I shall be leaving the Vatican to go to Castel Gandolfo. From there, please God, I shall lead the Angelus next Sunday. Thank you! Have a good Sunday and I wish you all a good week.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Pope Benedict XVI, so that they could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
St. Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
In this Sunday’s Gospel, we find Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). When Jesus says this, he has before him the people he meets every day on the streets of Galilee: very many simple people, the poor, the sick, sinners, those who are marginalized.... These people always followed him to hear his word — a word that gave hope! Jesus’ words always give hope! — and even just to touch a hem of his garment. Jesus himself sought out these tired, worn out crowds like sheep without a shepherd (cf. Matthew 9:35-36), and he sought them out to proclaim to them the Kingdom of God and to heal many of them in body and spirit. Now he calls them all to himself: “Come to me”, and he promises them relief and rest.
This invitation of Jesus reaches to our day, and extends to the many brothers and sisters oppressed by life’s precarious conditions, by existential and difficult situations and at times lacking valid points of reference. In the poorest countries, but also on the outskirts of the richest countries, there are so many weary people, worn out under the unbearable weight of neglect and indifference. Indifference: human indifference causes the needy so much pain! And worse, the indifference of Christians! On the fringes of society so many men and women are tried by indigence, but also by dissatisfaction with life and by frustration. So many are forced to emigrate from their homeland, risking their lives. Many more, every day, carry the weight of an economic system that exploits human beings, imposing on them an unbearable “yoke”, which the few privileged do not want to bear. To each of these children of the Father in heaven, Jesus repeats: “Come to me, all of you”. But he also says it to those who have everything, but whose heart is empty and without God. Even to them, Jesus addresses this invitation: “Come to me”. Jesus’ invitation is for everyone. But especially for those who suffer the most.
Jesus promises to give rest to everyone, but he also gives us an invitation, which is like a commandment: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). The “yoke” of the Lord consists in taking on the burden of others with fraternal love. Once Christ’s comfort and rest is received, we are called in turn to become rest and comfort for our brothers and sisters, with a docile and humble attitude, in imitation of the Teacher. Docility and humility of heart help us not only to take on the burden of others, but also to keep our personal views, our judgments, our criticism or our indifference from weighing on them.
Let us invoke Mary Most Holy, who welcomes under her mantle all the tired and worn out people, so that through an enlightened faith, witnessed in life, we can offer relief for so many in need of help, of tenderness, of hope.
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20 July 2014