Won’t help the priest or deacon preaching a Saturday vigil Mass, but it will for those Sunday mornings when you can usually read what the Pope said by 6:30 AM here in the States. Sandro Magister:
The real and proper message comes before the prayer. And it is – with rare exceptions – a brief homily on the Gospel and the other readings of that day’s Mass.
This little homily is most of what is heard by the great numbers of faithful who come to each Sunday noontime encounter with the pope, at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome and at Castel Gandolfo in the summer.
These are texts unmistakably conceived and written by pope Joseph Ratzinger. In some cases, it is easy to note similarities with his book “Jesus of Nazareth,” in the places where he discusses the same passage from the Gospel.
As in the Wednesday catecheses Benedict XVI is gradually recounting the life of the Church from the Apostles to the Fathers, so in the Sunday Angelus he is presenting to the faithful the figure of Jesus.
But there’s more. The path that the pope takes to get to Jesus each week is the same one that every member of the Catholic faithful travels in participating at Mass that same Sunday.
This is clearly a deliberate decision, and one typical of this pope’s vision. The Gospel upon which Benedict XVI comments at the Angelus is not “sola Scriptura,” it is not a bare book. It is the Word that becomes flesh – the body and blood of Jesus – in the liturgy of the day.
In order to raise to acceptable levels the average quality of the millions of homilies pronounced every Sunday all over the world, Catholic priests could do no better than to enroll themselves in the school of Benedict XVI’s Angelus addresses.
This first Sunday of October offers us two reasons for prayer and reflection: the commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Rosary which we celebrate today, and missionary commitment, to which this month is specially dedicated.
The traditional image of Our Lady of the Rosary shows Mary who carries the Baby Jesus in one arm, and with the other, offers a rosary to St. Dominic. This significant iconography shows that the Rosary is a means offered by the Virgin to contemplate Jesus and, in meditating on his life, to love and follow him even more faithfully.
It is the message that Our Lady has left behind in her many apparitions. I think, in particular, of her apparitions in Fatima 90 years ago. To the three shepherd children Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, presenting herself as ‘The Lady of the Rosary’, she recommended insistently that the rosary be recited daily to obtain an end to the war [First World War].
We too wish to comply with the maternal request of the Virgin, committing ourselves to recite the Rosary for peace in our families, among nations and in the entire world.
We know that true peace is disseminated wherever men and institutions open themselves to the Gospel. The month of October helps us to remember this fundamental truth through a special inspiration which tends to keep alive the missionary fervor in every community, and to support the work of those – priests, religious and laymen – who work on the frontiers of the Church’s mission.
With special care, we are preparing to celebrate on October 21, the World Day of Missions which will have the theme “All the churches for all the world”.
The proclamation of the Gospel remains the first service that the Church owes to humanity – to offer the salvation of Christ to the man of our time, who has been humiliated and oppressed in so many ways, and to orient, in the Christian sense, the cultural, social and ethical transformations which are going on in the world.
This year, another reason impels us to a renewed missionary commitment: the 50th anniversary of the encyclical Fidei donum by the Servant of God Pius XII, which promoted and encouraged cooperation among churches for the mission ad gentes.
It also gives me pleasure to recall that 150 years ago, 5 priests and a layman from the Istituto di Don Mazza of Verona left for what is the Sudan today. Among them was St. Daniel Comboni, future bishop of central Africa and patron of its peoples, and whose liturgical memory we mark on October 10.
Let us entrust all our missionaries to the intercession of this pioneer of the Gospel and to the countless missionary saints and blessed ones, and to the maternal protection of the Queen of the Holy Rosary.
May Mary help us to remember that every Christian is called on to announce the Gospel with words and with his life.