Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The Gospel is not a legend, but the history of a true story" and "Jesus of Nazareth is a historical character": this was Benedict XVI’s message at the Angelus today. In a St Peter's Square overflowing with over 30 thousand pilgrims, the pope also recalled the UN climate conference that opens tomorrow in Copenhagen.
Commenting on the Gospel of St. Luke (3:1-6) on the second Sunday of Advent, the Pope said: "The Evangelist pointed the spotlight on John the Baptist, who was the precursor of the Messiah, and traces with great precision the space-time coordinates of his preaching. " The pontiff noted that in the passage "all references to political and religious authorities of Palestine in 27/28 AD" (the emperor Tiberius, the governors Pontius Pilate, Herod, Philip, Lysanias, and the chief priests Anna and Caiaphas) are abundantly cited. He adds: "The gospel writer wants to notify all those who read or hear the Gospel that it is not a legend, but the history of a true story, that Jesus of Nazareth is a historical character inserted in that precise context".
The abundant references also have a second reason: "After this extensive historical introduction, the subject becomes 'the word of God', presented as a force that descends from above and poses itself on John the Baptist." "The Word of God - continues the pope - is the person who moves history, inspires the prophets, prepares the way for the Messiah, calls the Church. Jesus himself is the Divine Word that was made flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary: in Christ, God has revealed himself fully, he told us and given us everything, revealing to us the treasures of his truth and mercy. Ambrose continues in his commentary: "So the Word descended so that the earth, which before was a desert, produced fruit for us" (ibid.). "
Recalling that 8 December is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the pope added: "Mary is the Immaculate ... [but] the Church is in constant need of purification, because sin undermines all its members. In the Church there is an ongoing struggle between the desert and the garden, between sin which dries up the land and the grace that irrigates it so it may produce abundant fruits of holiness. Let us therefore pray that the Mother of the Lord will help us in this time of Advent, to 'straighten out' our paths, allowing ourselves to be led by the word of God. "
After the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI recalled the UN Conference on Climate Change, which opens tomorrow in Copenhagen, with which the international community wants to study ways to combat global warming. "I hope - said the pope - that the work will help identify actions that are respectful of creation and that will promote a a joint development based on human dignity and for the common good. The integrity of creation requires the adoption of sober and responsible lifestyles, especially towards the poor and future generations. In this perspective, to ensure the full success of the Conference, I invite all people of good will to respect the laws laid down by God in nature and to rediscover the moral dimension of human life. "