To Italy and to the world who complains of unfair taxes, of power without pity, the economic crisis in which there is no justice, you can find inspiration in the words of John the Baptist. This is what Benedict XVI said in his reflection before the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, where a giant Christmas tree stands since a couple of days.
The pontiff has revealed some interesting subjects such as justice and charity, taxes and honesty, power and respect, which are needed in our contemporary society, concluding that "the signs of the Baptist are always up to date in our complex world, and things would be much better if each one observed these rules of conduct. "
Recalling the Gospel of today's Mass, which presents the figure of John the Baptist, the Pope commented on the words of the Baptist when asked "What should we do?" ( Lk 3,10.12.14) "The first response - said the pope - is addressed to the crowds in general. The baptist says:" He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none, and whoever has food must do likewise "(v. 11). Here we can see a criterion of justice, enlivened by charity. Justice asks to overcome the imbalance between those who have and those who lack the necessary superfluous; charity urges us to be attentive to each other and to meet his needs, instead of finding justifications to defend their interests. justice and charity are not opposed, but both are necessary and complement each other. "Love will always be necessary, even in the most just society," because "there will always be situations of material need where is indispensable aid in the form of concrete love of neighbor. "
"The second answer - said the pope - John gives it some" tax "that is, tax collectors on behalf of the Romans. Already for this tax collectors were despised, and also because it often took advantage of their position to steal. To them the Baptist says not to change jobs, but not to require anything more than what has been set (see verse. 13). The prophet, in God's name, do not ask exceptional gestures, but above all the honest fulfillment of duty. First step toward eternal life is always keeping the commandments, in this case the seventh: "Thou shalt not steal."
"The third answer - he concluded - about the soldiers, another category with a certain power, and therefore tempted to abuse it. To soldiers John says:" Do not oppress and extort money, be content with your wages "(v. . 14). Again, the conversion starts with honesty and respect for others, an indication that applies to everyone, especially for those with more responsibility. "
Pope Benedict XVI prayed for the victims of Friday’s mass murder of school children in Newtown, Connecticut on Sunday. Speaking in English to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square to pray the Angelus with him on this third Sunday in Advent, the Holy Father renewed expressions (first offered on Friday in a Message of condolence to the Diocese of Bridgeport, of which Newtown is part) of his profound grief over the incident, as well as his promises of prayers for the victims and spiritual closeness to their families. The Pope went on to call all the faithful everywhere to renew their prayer and action in favor of the cause of peace.
After the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI appealed for the families of the capital give hospitality to young people who come from 28 December to 2 January in Rome for the European meeting organized by the Taizé Community. "I thank the families - said the pope - who, according to Roman tradition of hospitality, made themselves available to accommodate these young people. Because, thanks to God, the demands are higher than expected, I renew the appeal already addressed in the parishes, so that other families, with great simplicity, can make this beautiful experience of Christian fellowship. "
Among the greetings in Italian, the Pope greeted the children of Rome come for the traditional blessing of the statues of Baby Jesus, which will be placed in the manger on Christmas Eve, "Beloved, - he said - as I bless the little statues of Jesus that you will put in your crib, I cordially bless each of you and your families, as well as educators and the Roman Oratory Center."
Finally the Pope addressed the English Speaking pilgrims saying:"I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Angelus. I was deeply saddened by Friday’s senseless violence in Newtown, Connecticut. I assure the families of the victims, especially those who lost a child, of my closeness in prayer. May the God of consolation touch their hearts and ease their pain. During this Advent Season, let us dedicate ourselves more fervently to prayer and to acts of peace. Upon those affected by this tragedy, and upon each of you, I invoke God’s abundant blessings!"