Pope’s New Year’s Eve homily: Entrust tragedies and hopes of the world to God

VATICAN CITY (VIS) — In the Vatican Basilica at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, the pope presided at first Vespers for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. This was followed by the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the singing of the traditional “Te Deum” of thanksgiving for the conclusion of the year, and the Eucharistic blessing.

Extracts from Benedict XVI’s homily are given below:

“Another year is drawing to a close, as we await the start of a new one: with some trepidation, with our perennial desires and expectations. Reflecting on our life experience, we are continually astonished by how ultimately short and ephemeral life is. So we often find ourselves asking: what meaning can we give to our days? What meaning, in particular, can we give to the days of toil and grief? This is a question that … runs through the heart of every generation and every individual. But there is an answer: it is written on the face of a Child Who was born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago, and is today the Living One, risen for ever from the dead. From within the fabric of humanity, rent asunder by so much injustice, wickedness and violence, there bursts forth in an unforeseen way the joyful and liberating novelty of Christ our Savior, Who leads us to contemplate the goodness and tenderness of God through the mystery of His Incarnation and Birth.” 

“Since the Day of the Lord’s Nativity, the fullness of time has reached us. So there is no more room for anxiety in the face of time that passes, never to return; now there is room for unlimited trust in God, by Whom we know we are loved… Since the Savior came down from heaven, man has ceased to be the slave of time that passes to no avail, marked by toil, sadness and pain. Man is son of a God Who has entered time so as to redeem it from meaninglessness and negativity, a God Who has redeemed all humanity, giving it everlasting love as a new perspective of life.”

“The Church lives and professes this truth and intends to proclaim it today with fresh spiritual vigor… Christ’s disciples are called to reawaken in themselves and in others the longing for God and the joy of living Him and bearing witness to Him… We must give primacy to truth, seeing the combination of faith and reason as two wings with which the human spirit can rise to the contemplation of the Truth; we must ensure that the dialogue between Christianity and modern culture bears fruit; we must see to it that the beauty and contemporary relevance of the faith is rediscovered… as a constant orientation, affecting even the simplest choices, establishing a profound unity within the person, so that he becomes just, hard-working, generous and good. What is needed is to give new life to a faith that can serve as a basis for a new humanism, one that is able to generate culture and social commitment.”

“To proclaim faith in the Word made flesh is… at the heart of the Church’s mission, and the entire ecclesial community needs to rediscover this indispensable task with renewed missionary zeal. Young generations have an especially keen sense of the present disorientation, magnified by the crisis in economic affairs which is also a crisis of values, and so they in particular need to recognize in Jesus Christ ‘the key, the center and the purpose of the whole of human history.'”

“Ever since God sent His only-begotten Son, so that we might obtain adoptive sonship, we can have no greater task than to be totally at the service of God’s plan.”

“‘Te Deum laudamus!’ We praise you, O God! The Church suggests that we should not end the year without expressing our thanks to the Lord for all His benefits. It is in God that our last hour must come to a close, the last hour of time and history. To overlook this goal of our lives would be to fall into the void, to live without meaning. Hence the Church places on our lips the ancient hymn ‘Te Deum.’ It is a hymn filled with the wisdom of many Christian generations, who feel the need to address on high their heart’s desires, knowing that all of us are in the Lord’s merciful hands.”

“With hearts full of thanksgiving, let us prepare to cross the threshold of 2012, remembering that the Lord is watching over us and guarding us. To Him this evening we wish to entrust the whole world. Let us place in His hands the tragedies of this world and let us also offer Him our hopes for a brighter future.”



Posted Tuesday, January 03, 2012 7:28 AM By MacDonald
“…we must ensure that the dialogue between Christianity and modern culture bears fruit; we must see to it that the beauty and contemporary relevance of the faith is rediscovered… as a constant orientation, affecting even the simplest choices, establishing a profound unity within the person, so that he becomes just, hard-working, generous and good.” God bless Pope Benedict XVI for proclaiming such a sensible and positive message in this New Year! I hope we can all embrace his enthusiasm — rather than the negativity and venom that both make some Christians look like they have never even HEARD the Good News. If someone who was forced into the Hitlerjugend as a child, and who then saw Europe devastated by World War II, can be so faith-filled and optimistic about the future, so can we.

Posted Tuesday, January 03, 2012 7:54 AM By Camille
Today’s local newspaper carries an insert ad to senior citizens proclaiming a “Successful Aging Expo” showing people how to successfully live their Golden Years with good health, good choices and good times. But, there is no God in those humanistic plans for successful living. Our government proclaims health to be the new god. God be merciful to your people.

Posted Tuesday, January 03, 2012 10:09 AM By JLS
Camille, most of the old folks ads tempt them into lives of drugged bliss.

Posted Tuesday, January 03, 2012 4:38 PM By Maryanne Leonard
God bless our wonderful Pope Benedict, and may He grant him long life and strength. His insight is exquisite, and his guidance is absolutely without error, justifying again our great joy in his wise and loving leadership.

Posted Tuesday, January 03, 2012 6:42 PM By JLS
Abeca, you really described it well, by saying that the novus ordo is for kids. My first inkling of this was at a Mass early in my Catholicism where the kids processed around the inside of the church, while the parents followed them. Folly rang out loud and clear at that moment.

Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012 4:15 PM By Abeca Christian
Maryanne Leonard I agree and join you in prayers for our Pope. Your comments are beautiful! JLS yes it reaches them at their level but one would want to grow too in their faith, so I pray that better changes come and better Catechism be conveyed as it should and is.

Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012 4:40 PM By Abeca Christian
Tan Books is having a sale now through the 8th get 20% off, use code NEWYEAR12. Buy Tan books, find the beauty of those exceptional books sold by them. Our Pope will be pleased with us getting to know our faith better. Praise Be Jesus Christ!

Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012 4:42 PM By Abeca Christian
I recommend this book, excellent teens book: Catholic Girl’s Guide by Fr. F. X. Lasance.