Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Italy
and the entire world, where people complain of unfair taxes, of a pitiless power,
of an unjust economic crisis, can find inspiration in the words of John the
is what Benedict XVI affirmed in his reflection before the Angelus with the
faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square, adorned for the past two
days by a giant Christmas tree.
The pontiff revealed some
interesting couples 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 relevant in our complex world, things would be
much better if each of us observed
these rules of conduct. "
the Gospel of today's Mass (Advent III-C), 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), while waiting
for the Messiah.
"The first response - said
the pope - is addressed to the crowds in general. The Baptist says: "Whoever has two cloaks should share
with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise "(v. 11). Here
we can see a criterion of justice, enlivened by charity. Justice asks us to
overcome the imbalance between those who have the superfluous and those who
lack basic necessities; charity urges us to be careful of one another, to reach
out to others and meet their needs, instead of finding excuses to defend our
own 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 help is
indispensable in the form of concrete love of neighbor" (Encyclical Deus
Caritas Est, 28) " .
"The second answer - said
the pope - John makes to some" tax collectors" on behalf of the
Romans. Tax collectors were despised, also because they often took advantage of
their position to steal. The Baptist
advises them not to change jobs, but neither to exact more than what has been
set (see verse. 13). The prophet, in God's name, does not seek exceptional gestures,
but above all the honest fulfillment of one's duty. A first step
toward eternal life is always keeping the commandments, in this case the
seventh: "Thou shalt not steal" (cf. Ex 20:15). "
"The third response - he
concluded - regards soldiers, another category with a certain power, and
therefore tempted to abuse it. John says to the soldiers:" Do not oppress
and extort anything from anyone; be content with your wages "(v. .
14). Again, conversion begins with honesty and respect for others, an
indication that applies to everyone, especially those with greater
After the Marian prayer, Benedict
XVI appealed for the families of the capital to give hospitality to young
people who will arrive in Rome from 28 December to 2 January for the European
meeting organized by the Taizé Community. "I
thank the families - said the pope - who, according to Roman tradition of
hospitality, have made themselves available to accommodate these young people.
Because, thanks to God, the demands are higher than expected, I renew the
appeal already addressed to parishes, so
that other families, with great simplicity, can enjoy this beautiful experience
of Christian fellowship".
during his greetings in Italian, the Pope welcomed the children of Rome, in St
Peter's Square for the traditional blessing of the statues of Baby Jesus, which
will be placed in the manger on Christmas Eve, "Beloved children, - he
said - as I bless the little statues of Jesus that
you will put in your nativity scene, I
cordially bless each of you and your families, as well as educators and the
Roman Oratory Centers. "