In his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Benedict XVI called on the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square to live Sunday not only as a day of rest and of the family, but above all as a day “to dedicate to the Lord.”
Addressing thousands of pilgrims, the Holy Father called to mind the Sunday Gospel of St. Luke, where Jesus enters the synagogue on the Sabbath. The Pope noted that Jesus Christ, as a devout believer, “does not neglect the weekly liturgical rhythm.” Continuing his commentary on the Gospel, the Holy Father reflected on the Lord’s words upon reading the passage from the prophet Isaiah: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk. 4:21).
“St. Cyril of Alexandria states that the ‘today,’ placed between the first and last coming of Christ, is linked to the believer’s capacity to listen and reform his life,” the Holy Father said.
“But in a still more radical sense Jesus himself is the ‘today’ of salvation in history because he brings the fullness of redemption. The term ‘today,’ very dear to St. Luke, brings us to the preferred Christological title of the same evangelist, namely, ‘savior’ (soter). Already in the infancy narratives, it is presented in the words of the angel to the shepherds: “Today, in the city of David, there is born for you a Savior, Christ the Lord”.
Pope Benedict continued his address reminding the faithful to live Sunday as a day dedicated to the Lord, where participating in the Eucharist, “we are nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ and by his Word of life.” The Holy Father also stated that the Gospel invites us to reflect on our capacity to listen to God.
“Before speaking about God and with God we must listen to him, and the Church’s liturgy is the ‘school’ of this listening to the Lord who speaks to us,” the Holy Father said.
“In the end he tells us that every moment can become a ‘today’ that is propitious for our conversion. Every day (“kathermeran”) can become the today of salvation because salvation is the story that continues for the Church and for each disciple of Christ. This is the Christian sense of “carpe diem” (seize the day): welcome the today in which God calls you to grant you salvation!”
Following the recitation of the Angelus, the Supreme Pontiff reflected on the “Day of Memory”, a day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust. “The memory of this horrendous tragedy that so profoundly struck the Jewish people above all, should represent for all a constant exhortation so that the horrors of the past not be repeated, every form of hatred and racism be overcome and respect for the dignity of the human person be promoted,” the Pope said.
The Holy Father also noted the commemoration of the 60th World Day of those suffering from leprosy as well as a special day of prayer for peace in the Holy Land.
Concluding his address, the Holy Father released several doves as a symbol of the Spirit of God “who grants peace to those who welcome his love.”