December 5
Second Sunday of Advent

Readings: Is. 11:1-10; Rom. 15:4-9; Mt. 3:1-12

Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. — Is. 11:5-6

Advent is particularly suited to being a season lived in communion with all those who—and thanks be to God they are numerous — hope for a more just and a more fraternal world. In this commitment to justice, people of every nationality and culture, believers and non-believers, can to a certain extent meet. Indeed, they are all inspired by a common desire, even if their motivations are different, for a future of justice and peace.

Homily in Celebration of the First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2, 2006

December 6
Monday of the Second Week of Advent

Readings: Is. 35:1-10; Lk. 5:17-26

“But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”— he said to the one who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” — Lk. 5:24

Christ is “the hand” of God stretched out to humanity, to rescue it from the quick sands of illness and death so that it can stand on the firm rock of spanine love.

Angelus, Feb. 12, 2006

December 7
Memorial of St. Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church

Readings: Is. 40:1-11; Mt. 18:12-14

Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care. — Is. 40:11

Culturally well-educated but at the same time ignorant of the Scriptures, [St. Ambrose] briskly began to study them. From the works of Origen, the indisputable master of the “Alexandrian School,” he learned to know and to comment on the Bible. Thus, Ambrose transferred to the Latin environment the meditation on the Scriptures which Origen had begun, introducing in the West the practice of lectio spanina. The method of lectio served to guide all of Ambrose’s preaching and writings, which stemmed precisely from prayerful listening to the Word of God.

General audience, Oct. 24, 2007

December 8
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Readings: Gn. 3:9-15, 20; Eph. 1:3-6, 11-12; Lk. 1:26-38

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” — Lk. 1:38

To reflect upon the Immaculate Conception of Mary is thus to allow oneself to be attracted by the “yes” which joined her wonderfully to the mission of Christ, Redeemer of humanity; it is to allow oneself to be taken and led by her hand to pronounce in one’s turn “fiat” to the will of God, with all one’s existence interwoven with joys and sadness, hopes and disappointments, in the awareness that tribulations, pain and suffering make rich the meaning of our pilgrimage on the earth.

Message for the 16th World Day of the Sick, Jan. 11, 2008

December 9
Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

Readings: Is. 41:13-20; Mt. 11:11-15

I am the Lord, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” — Is. 41:13

Advent is the spiritual season of hope par excellence, and in it the whole Church is called to become hope, for herself and for the world.

Homily in celebration of the First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 29, 2008

December 10
Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Readings: Is. 48:17-19; Mt. 11:16-19

I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go. — Is. 48:17

Advent becomes an opportunity to reawaken within ourselves the true meaning of waiting, returning to the heart of our faith which is the mystery of Christ, the Messiah who was expected for long centuries and was born in poverty, in Bethlehem.

Homily in celebration of First Vespers of Advent, Nov. 28, 2009

December 11
Saturday of the Second Week of Advent

Readings: Sir. 48:1-4, 9-11; Mt. 17:9a, 10-13

[Jesus] said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” — Mt. 17:11-12

The Son of God has already come to Bethlehem about 20 centuries ago, he comes in each moment in the soul and in the community disposed to receive him, he will come again at the end of time “to judge the living and the dead.”

Angelus, Dec. 2, 2007