On the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, The Church wants us to come back to the Crib and proclaim again the Christmas mystery that Jesus Christ is true God and true Man. There are various aspects of this Christmas mystery that deserve to be emphasized. Today the Church invites us to concentrate our attention on the fact that Mary is the Mother of God because she brought forth Jesus who is the Son of God, the Second person of the Blessed Trinity. Today our hearts are filled with veneration and love for Mary and with profound praise for the wonderful way by which God brought about the salvation of the world. On this Octave of Christmas we also commemorate the day on which Jesus received his name, the only name by which we can be saved.
Today a great light has dawned upon us. This light is Jesus Christ himself. We acknowledge the full identity of the Child in the crib and we adore him. He is the Son of God and the Son of Mary. To those who accept him he gives the power to become children of God. To accept Jesus means to share his relationship with his Father and with his brothers and sisters, and to accept all those who share humanity with him. The birth of Jesus becomes a global call to solidarity with all our brothers and sisters in need. At Bethlehem Jesus teaches us how to share with others in order to have a share in the eternal life of God.
Christmas homily of December 24, 2014 (in Spanish): Mass during the Night (La Natividad del Señor: Misa de la noche) [Cardinal Rigali - Podcast]
The Church proclaims the birth of Jesus Christ as a wonderful exchange between God and man. We are invited to adore the Christ child and to accept him in all his brothers and sisters. The message of Christmas brings with it a new commandment and a new challenge of love.
We spend the final hours of Advent awaiting the fullness of time when God sends his Son as our Savior. The Church speaks to us saying: "Tomorrow you will see his glory." The Church also reminds us that God fulfills his promises of mercy to send a Savior whose Kingdom will have no end. The Savior will be of the royal lineage of King David, Son of the Virgin Mary and Son of God. We are invited to pass these last moments in union with Mary, who longs for Jesus "with love beyond all telling."
We acknowledge the Savior as true God and true man. He is the Son of David and the Son of the Virgin Mary. By the Holy Spirit he was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man. He is the Son of the eternal Father. His birth as Savior is the triumph of Divine Mercy.
The Second Vatican Council teaches us that the sacred liturgy is the exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. It is the worship of the whole Mystical Body, of Head and members.
The many petitions that the word of God and the prayer of the Church place on our lips are part of the sacred liturgy.
As baptized members of the Church we are privileged to present these petitions in union with Christ our High Priest. Our petitions have an enormous power and efficacy; they are offered to help all people attain salvation and eternal life.
On this Gaudete Sunday the tone of our liturgical celebration is one of joyfully awaiting our Savior, who is so near.
Both the realization of the Savior's coming and the nearness of that coming bring us special joy at this time.
The word of God makes reference to Isaiah and to John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Savior.
In addition, the Church calls our attention to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who so powerfully shows the relationship between joy and salvation, attesting to her own redemption, saying: "… my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."
The Church reflects on how the anticipation of the coming of our Savior brings us joy that does not know fear.
Homily of December 12, 2014 (in Spanish): Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe [Cardinal Rigali - Podcast]
Homily of December 11, 2014: Thursday of the Second Week of Advent: Memorial of St. Damasus [Cardinal Rigali - Podcast]
St. Damasus led the Church in veneration of the martyrs and in love for the word of God. On his memorial the Church proclaims one of the most exquisite revelations of God's love. Jesus says: "As the Father has loved me, so I also love you....Love one another as I have loved you." This love is a great part of the Advent Mystery.
The Lord, who does not grow weary, lovingly uplifts his people from their weakness and weariness. Jesus, the Savior and Son of Mary, has given his Mother the important role of assisting him in his role as "heavenly physician".
Homily of December 9, 2014: Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Juan Diego [Cardinal Rigali - Podcast]
The Lord who comes to us at Christmas and will come again in majesty at the end of time also comes into our daily lives. He does this also through the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Lord burst into the lives of millions of people through the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. God's message in the Scriptures and always is one of tenderness and mercy. We are called to bring this message to others.
On this feast of the Immaculate Conception we are celebrating the redemption of Mary by Jesus. By God's power the effect of the redeeming death of Jesus was applied to Mary, in anticipation, at the moment of her conception. The Immaculate Conception is all about the redemptive power of the Paschal Mystery. Mary's redemption involves preservation from sin. The rest of humanity is cleansed from sin. Mary's privilege is rooted in her divine maternity and is a call for us to praise and thank God.
Today the Gospel according to St. Mark presents us the figure of St. John the Baptist. His role is to prepare the way of the Lord by calling to repentance and conversion. Jesus proclaims the very same message, as do Saints Peter and Paul. The Church continues to do the same throughout the ages. In this call to conversion we find salvation and eternal life as we ask God to show us his mercy and love.
Homily of December 6, 2014: Saturday of the First Week of Advent: Memorial of St. Nicholas [Cardinal Rigali - Podcast]
Jesus, whose human heart is moved by pity, reveals himself to us in the Gospel as the God of mercy. He also reveals the mission of mercy entrusted to his Apostles and the Church. In our Advent liturgy we ask for divine mercy and are challenged to share it with others.
Homily of December 5, 2014: Friday of the First Week of Advent: First Friday of the month [Cardinal Rigali - Podcast]
In anticipation of the coming of the Prince of Peace at Christmas, the Church asks for the gift of peace now in Advent. Peace – the tranquility of order – is a gift to us of Christ's love and the result of his action as our Savior. Our Advent hope is to possess peace and to share it with others. We invoke the Prince of Peace and ask the help of his Mother, Mary Queen of Peace.
The Church continues to proclaim Christ's coming at Bethlehem and at the end of time. St. Bernard reflects on the coming of Christ in our daily lives and refers to it as his "third coming." The nearness of Christ encourages us to live justly and honestly in our expectation,doing the will of the Father. Meanwhile,we cry out: "Come Lord Jesus."
Homily of December 3, 2014: Wednesday of the First Week of Advent: Memorial of St. Francis Xavier [Cardinal Rigali - Podcast]
The Church celebrates today, during Advent, the memorial of St. Francis Xavier, whose life is a trophy to the saving work of the Lord Jesus. His missionary activity was a response to Christ's command to go and make disciples of all nations. He proclaimed Jesus, the Child born in Bethlehem, as the Savior of the world, and he helped thousands of people to prepare to meet him.
As we prepare for the Coming of Christ at Bethlehem and at his Second Coming, we call out to the Lord for redemption. This forgiveness of our sins enables us to participate with Jesus in the life of the Most Blessed Trinity. We receive and share with others God's love.
As we continue to celebrate in Advent the two Comings of Christ, we must increasingly recognize our need for a Savior and call out for forgiveness. Jesus constantly responds, as with the centurion, saying: "I will come and cure him." The Advent Mystery of Christ becomes reality for us in the Eucharist.