The media, sidetracked by often vapid appearances, did not give much coverage to Benedict XVI’s Visit to one of the parishes of his Diocese. He went to a rather small parish on the outskirts of the City, on a cold December morning — as he has so often done, complying with a tradition that the Bishops of Rome have never abandoned.
The Pope celebrated Mass for the parishioners and spoke, delivering an important Homily in which he extemporized on the question that the disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus: “Are you he who is to come, or should we expect another?” Are you he, or shall we look for another?
A question we have just heard in the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. which already shines out in the liturgical colour, rose to express the joy of an ever shorter period of waiting.
Speaking as an old preacher and suddenly attracting the attention of those present, Benedict XVI departed from his prepared speech and asked this question. Looking at the history of recent centuries, he recalled the many prophets, ideologists and dictators who replied: it is, not Jesus, but we who change the world. And they changed it the Pope remarked, but they left emptiness and widescale destruction: “No, it was not they”.
For this reason we must still question Christ, a sentence of whom Benedict XVI imagined, as if it were an unwritten saying, agraphon, which contains the answer: “You see what I did. I did not start a bloody revolution, I did not change the world with force but lit many lights which, in the meantime, form a great pathway of light through the millenniums”.
Lights that were lit amidst the shadows and in the daily efforts by men and women such as Maximilian Kolbe, Damien de Veuster and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
For “it is not the violent revolutions of the world, it is not great promises that change the world, but rather the silent light of the truth” that comes from that close God who gives us the certainty that we are not forgotten, as if the human were a product of chance.
The Pope said in words that everyone could understand, “we must draw close to this God”. To become “one of the smallest lights” which he lit in history and thus, in the active vigil of waiting, to carry light into the world. That light which came to illumine every man.
St. Peter’s Square
Nov. 22, 2019
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