BENEDICT XVI: ANGELUS DOMINI of Sunday, 24 October 2010
At the conclusion of the solemn Eucharistic Concelebration in St. Peter’s Basilica, before the Recital of the Angelus Domini in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father said:
Dear brothers and sisters!
With the solemn Celebration this morning in the Vatican Basilica, the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme, "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: communion and witness" came to an end. Furthermore this Sunday is World Missionary Day which has as its motto: "The construction of the ecclesial communion is the key to the mission". The similarity between the themes of these two ecclesial events is striking. Both invite us to look at the Church as a mystery of communion that, by its nature, is destined to the whole man and to all men. The Servant of God Pope Paul VI affirmed: "The Church exists to evangelize, that is to say, to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God, to perpetuate the sacrifice of Christ in the Holy Mass which is the memorial of his death and of his glorious Resurrection" (Apostolic Exhortation. Evangelii nuntiandi, 8 December 1975, 14: AAS 68, , p. 13). For this reason, the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, in 2012, will be dedicated to the theme of "The new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith". In every time and in every place - today in the Middle East as well – the Church is present and works to welcome every man and offer him the fullness of life in Christ. As the Italian-German theologian Romano Guardini wrote: "The reality "Church" implies the whole fullness of the Christian being that develops throughout history, insofar as this embraces the fullness of the human that is in a relationship with God” (Formazione liturgica, Brescia 2008, 106-107).
Dear friends, in today’s Liturgy we read the testimony of Saint Paul regarding the final crown the Lord will give “to all those who have longed for his Appearing” (2 Tm 4:8). This is not an idle or solitary wait, on the contrary! The Apostle lived in communion with the risen Christ “so that the whole message might be proclaimed for all the pagans to hear” (2 Tm 4:17). The missionary task is not to revolutionize the world, but to transfigure it, drawing the strength from Jesus Christ who "calls us to the table of his Word and the Eucharist, to enjoy the gift of his Presence, be educated at his school and always live more knowingly united to him, Master and Lord” (Message for the 84th World Missionary Day). The Christians of today as well – as it says in the Letter to Diognetus - "show how marvelous is … their extraordinary associated life. Their existence is on earth but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, but they surpass the laws in their own lives … They are put to death and yet they are endued with life. Doing good, they are … punished and increase more and more daily ". (V, 18.104.22.168; VI, 9 [SC 33], Paris 1951, 62-66).
To the Virgin Mary, who received from the Crucified Jesus the new mission of being Mother to all those who want to believe in Him and follow Him, we entrust the Christian communities of the Middle East and all the missionaries of the Gospel.
After the Recital of the Angelus Domini, the Pope said:
[In French] Today we close the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. I ask you to pray for all the peoples of that region, asking the Lord to create throughout the world men and women of peace and reconciliation.
[In English] We give thanks to God for the blessings received during the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which concluded this morning in St. Peter's Basilica.