As he explained the “relevance” of the Liturgical Year for mankind, the Pontiff said, “The contemporary world needs hope above all; this is true for developing peoples but especially for developed peoples. Increasingly, we realise that we are in the same boat and that we can save ourselves together. With the collapse of so many false certainties, we are becoming especially aware of how we need reliable hope and that this is found only in Christ, who according to the Letter to the Hebrews Jesus “is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (13:8). The Lord Jesus came in the past, comes in the present, and shall come in the future. He embraces all of time’s dimensions. Because he died and rose, he is the ‘Living’, and whilst he shared our human precariousness, he is always there, offering us God’s stability. He is “flesh” like us, and “rock” like God. Anyone who yearns for freedom, justice, and peace can stand erect and raise his head because in Christ redemption is at hand (cf Lk, 21:28), which is in today’s Gospel reading.”
After the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI said that 1 December is World AIDS Day. “My thoughts and prayers go to every person afflicted by this disease, especially the children, the very poor, and all those who are rejected,” he said. “The Church does all it can to fight AIDS through its institution and staff. I urge everyone to make their contribution with prayers and actual care so that those suffering from the HIV virus may experience the presence of the Lord, source of comfort and hope. Lastly, I hope that, through more coordinated efforts, we may be able to stop and eradicate this disease.”
In his final, multilingual greetings, Benedict XVI saluted in particular the march promoted by the Movement for Family Love in order “to express deep love for the Crucifix, recognising its religious, historical and cultural value.”
The march was called to protest against a ruling by the European Court that deemed the crucifix in public places in Italy a violation of freedom.