In his words at today's midday Angelus, Pope Benedict spoke about St. John the Baptist as a historical figure. He then mentions that in today's Gospel reading for Mass (Luke 3:1-6), "after this ample historical introduction, the subject matter becomes 'the Word of God', presented as a power that comes from above and descends on John the Baptist. . . . Jesus himself is the Divine Word made flesh in the virginal womb of Mary." He spoke about Mary as "the most beautiful flower germinated from the Word of God", and he mentioned the struggle "between the desert and the garden, between the sin that parches the earth and the grace that waters it so that it produces abundant fruits of holiness."