The liturgical season of Advent began yesterday evening. Teresa Benedetta has photos and an English translation of the Holy Father's homily from the first vespers of Advent at Papa Ratzinger Forum. Zenit also has a translation of the homily.
This morning, the Pope said Mass at the Basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura in the northern part of Rome. Teresa Benedetta also has photos and an English translation of his homily this morning. Asia News has an article about this morning's Mass and Angelus prayer. Zenit and Papa Ratzinger Forum have translations of the Pope's words at the Angelus.
In last night's homily, the Holy Father spoke of I Thess. 5:23, which uses the word "advent" (meaning "coming", in the Greek "parousia"). There, Paul was exhorting the Christians of Thessalonica to keep themselves irreproachable "for the coming" of the Lord. The original text says, "in the coming", pointing to how we live now, while waiting. We already glimpse and taste it. That waiting, he said, is summarized in the word "hope". Speaking of Psalm 142, the Holy Father spoke of Christ's first coming, in which he suffered and died to bring us out of imprisonment. "Indeed," he said, "hope that is reliable, not deceptive, cannot be other than 'Paschal' hope."
In this morning's homily, he spoke again of Advent, that prepares us for the celebration of Christ's coming at Christmas, and which more profoundly prepares us for Christ's return "at the end of history." He spoke about the etiology of the Latin word adventus adopted into Christian language. "Advent," he said, "means remembering the first coming of the Lord in the flesh, while thinking now of his definitive return. At the same time, it means acknowledging that Christ present among us makes himself our travelling companion in the life of the Church which celebrates his mystery." He also spoke of being watchful, as Jesus said in today's Gospel reading for Mass, "pass[ing] "every moment of our time within the horizon of his love without allowing ourselves to be beaten by the inevitable difficulties and problems of daily life."
In his words at the Angelus, back at St. Peter's, he said that being watchful "entails the right detachment from earthly things, sincere repentance for one’s own errors, active charity towards one’s fellow man and especially a humble and trusting faith in the hands of God, our tender and merciful Father." After the prayer, the Pope condemned the recent violence in Mumbai, India, and Jos, Nigeria. He asked that God might touch the hearts of those who believe that violence can solve problems.