Here is the Vatican-provided English-language summary of the Pope’s address at the General Audience this morning:
Speaker: Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, we now turn to the figure of Rachel, the wife of Jacob, who died giving birth to her second child. The prophet Jeremiah evokes Rachel’s tears – the tears of a mother who weeps for her children and would not be consoled – to describe the sorrow of the Chosen People at the time of the Exile. Anyone familiar with the grief of a mother who has lost a child knows the power of this image. In response to Rachel’s tears, God offers a word of consolation by promising new life in the return of the exiles (cf. Jer 31:15-17). In this Christmas season, we read Jeremiah’s prophecy on the feast of the Holy Innocents. In the Gospel for that day, Saint Matthew also evokes Rachel’s tears to describe the grief of those mothers who saw their children killed before their eyes, victims of a tyranny that despises and destroys life. Yet it is in Mary, standing at the foot of the cross, that the prophecy is truly fulfilled. Our Lady’s tears for the death of her Son bear fruit in new hope and new life for all those who, through faith, become her children in the body of the Risen Christ, which is the Church.
Speaker: I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Australia, Canada and the United States of America. May each of you, and your families, cherish the joy of this Christmas season, and draw near in prayer to the Saviour who has come to dwell among us. God bless you!