Pope Benedict’s Homily for today from the Papa Ratzinger Forum:
The Pope presided at 8:00 Mass in the parish church of St. Thomas Villanova next to the Papal residence in Castel Gandolfo and commented on the Gospel for the day taken from the Apocalypse written by St. John.
He said the dragon with seven heads and ten horns in the vision of the Evangelist has not disappeared “but exists in new and various ways” – “in the form of materialistic ideologies which tell us it is absurd to think of God, it is absurd to observe his commandments, that life is worth living for itself alone, that only selfishness counts, consumerism, amusement.” It seems impossible, he said, to think today of God who is master of man.
The Pope said the modern-day dragon was “not only anti-
Christian forces but all the anti-Christian materialistic dictatorships of all time.” In the past century, he said, “we saw the dictatorship of Nazism, of Stalin – how strong the dragon could be. But in the end, love was stronger than hate. Even now, the dragon may once again seem invincible, but love will triumph, not hate nor selfishness.”
The Church and the faith, he said, “are like a helpless woman facing a dragon, without hope of surviving, much less winning. Who could oppose such a power? But in the end, we know that the woman triumphed, not selfishness or hate, but love of God, and the Roman empire itself opened up to the Christian faith.”
Mary’s example, he said, invites us to say, ‘Bear up, take courage, in the end, life will triumph, the life that is true.’Have the courage to live that way even against all the powers of the dragon. That is the great sign of love, and of the victory of goodness and love.”
The Pope said Mary represents “the pilgrim Church of all time’.In every generation, “Christ must be born anew, the Church must bear the image of Jesus in all his suffering through all its tribulations under varying circumstances in the wor4ld and in time.
“In the end, the Church triumphs as a guarantee of God’s love against all the ideologies of hate and selfishness. Even today, the dragon would devour the God who became a baby, but never think that God can be overcome, because God is strong, the real strength, since love is stronger than hate.”