Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – Love “is stronger than hatred and selfishness” even in today’s world which is ruled by “the materialist ideology of consumerism and entertainment.” It is Mary who showed us this. “Overcoming death”, she “told us: Courage, love wins in the end!” This is what Benedict XVI said in his homily during the mass celebrated in the Pontifical Parish of San Tommaso da Villanova, in Castel Gandolfo, on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Assumption.
The Pope took inspiration from the apocalyptic image of the “red dragon, the symbol of absolute selfishness, terror and violence” to describe the story of the world as an ongoing “struggle between love and selfishness;” and not only in the age of the Roman Empire or in 1900, but today as well.
“We saw the power of the red dragon realised in the great dictatorships of the last century,” Benedict XVI said. "The dictatorships of Nazism and Stalinism had a power that penetrated every corner. On the long run it seemed impossible that faith could survive such a powerful dragon who sought to devour God who had become a child, and the woman, the Church. But in this case in fact love proved stronger than hatred.”
For the Pontiff today’s dragon is found “in the materialist ideologies that say: It is absurd to think about God. It is absurd to observe God’s Commandments. It is something from a bygone era . . . . Only consumerism, selfishness and fun are worth something. That’s life.”
“Again it seems absurd, impossible to oppose this dominant mentality with all its media and propaganda power. It seems impossible to think about a God who created man, who became a child, the real would-be ruler of the world,” he said.
Benedict XVI finally spoke what Our Lady means, a woman “dressed in the sun, that is to say God.” It is indeed Mary who “overcoming death told us: Courage, love wins in the end! My life means that I am God’s handmaid; my life means giving myself to God and my fellow man as a gift. Have trust, have courage to live thus against all the dragon’s threats. Mary,” he said, “is the sign that love, goodness and God shall win.”
Our Lady also means a “woman who suffers, who must flee, giving birth in crying pain, i.e. the Church, the pilgrim Church of all ages. In all generations the Church must give birth to Christ, bring him into the world in great pain and suffering. Throughout the ages the Church has been persecuted by the dragon.”
“But,” the Pope said, “throughout the ages the Church was nourished by God, nourished with the same bread that is the Holy Eucharist. And thus in all its tribulations, in all the various situations the Church found itself throughout time in the different parts of the world, the Church wins by suffering.”
“And thus the feast day of the Immaculate,” Benedict XVI explained, “is an invitation to trust God and an invitation to imitate Mary,” who said “I am the handmaid of the Lord, I am at the disposal of the Lord.”
Hence the Pope urged us “to give our life rather than take any, setting off on the path of love, which means losing ourselves, a path which alone can let us truly find ourselves as well as find true life.”
In concluding he said: “Let us look upon Mary, the Assunta, and be encouraged in our faith and in the feast of joy: God wins. Faith, which appeared weak, is the real power of the world. Love is stronger than hatred.”
In the late morning the Pope addressed as he usually does the many faithful and pilgrims who crowd the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace for the Angelus.
He used the occasion to highlight the solidarity between “Mother and Son, closely tied in their struggle against the enemy from hell till the total victory over him.”
“As Christ’s glorious resurrection was the final sign of this victory,” he said, “so does the glorification of Mary, including in her virgin body, constitute the final confirmation of Her total solidarity with the Son in both struggle and victory.”
Finally, “Mary did not grow remote from us. We need to feel that she is mother and sister in the concrete situations of our existence,” he said.