VATICAN CITY, 25 JUL 2009 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon , Benedict XVI presided at the celebration of Vespers in the cathedral of Aosta, Italy, in the presence of four hundred priests, religious and lay representatives from the parishes of the diocese.
In his homily, delivered without notes, the Pope said that if "our relationship with God is not living, if it is not lived, then none of our other relationships can take their correct form. And this also holds true for society, for humankind. Here too, if we do without God, if God is absent, we lack the compass ... to show us the path, the direction we must follow".
"We must bring the truth of God back into the world, make Him known", he went on. "Evangelisation consists precisely in the distant God becoming close, in God no longer being far off but near, in this 'known-unknown' finally making Himself known and revealing His face. ... He shows us His face, He enters our world. There is no longer any need to use other powers because He is the true power, the Almighty".
The Holy Father highlighted the importance of understanding "that God's omnipotence is not an arbitrary power, because God is Good, He is Truth. Hence God can do everything but He cannot act against goodness, He cannot act against truth, He cannot act against love and freedom, because He Himself is goodness, love and true freedom".
"God is the custodian of our freedom, of love and of truth. This eye that looks down is not an evil eye watching over us, but the presence of a love that never abandons us".
Benedict XVI highlighted how "the pinnacle of God's power is mercy and forgiveness. In our modern concept of what power is we think of people who possess great property", who can "influence the market. We think of those with great military power, who have the power to threaten. Stalin's question 'how many divisions does the Pope have?' continues to characterise the typical idea of power. Those who have power are dangerous, they can threaten and destroy".
"But the Revelation tells us that this is not so. True power is the power of grace and mercy. In His mercy God shows true power".
"God has suffered and in the Son suffers with us", said Pope Benedict. "Thus He shows true divine power. He wanted to suffer with us and for us. We are never abandoned in our sufferings".
"Why was it necessary to suffer in order to save the world?" the Holy Father asked. "It was necessary because in the world there exists an ocean of evil, of injustice, of hatred and of violence, and the many victims of hatred and injustice have the right to see justice done. ... God must enter into this world and oppose the ocean of injustice with a greater ocean of goodness and love".
Following the celebration of Vespers, the Pope left the cathedral and greeted the faithful gathered outside. "I would just like to say thank-you for the sympathy and affection you show me", he said. "My hope is you enjoy a happy holiday, free from 'incidents'", he added jokingly raising his right arm in its plaster cast.
Returning to his residence at Les Combes, the Pope paused to meet elderly people in the old people's home of Introd, whom he greeted from his car window due to the driving rain.
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