Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass on Sunday at the parish church of St. Patrick at Colle Prenestino, on th

e eastern outskirts of Rome. In his homily, the Holy Father spoke of the certainty we have in faith that the Lord is present, regardless of how circumstance might appear to give cause for mistrust, sadness, and even despair. The presence of the Lord is by itself enough to brighten and gladden hearts. He reminded the faithful that it is Jesus, who brings salvation to humanity: a new relationship with God that triumphs over evil and death, and that is the true joy, “for this presence of the Lord who comes to enlighten our path, though this is often overwhelmed at present by the darkness of selfishness.” 

The Pope also reminded the gathered parishoners that the Lord always listens to us, even when we turn away from Him through sin - He never rejects our prayers. “Although He does not always respond as we might want,” said Pope Benedict, “God nevertheless responds.” Pope Benedict spoke of God not as distant, but as Emmanuel - God with us - a God with us in the Holy Eucharist, with us in the living Church. We must be carriers of this presence of God, and we must respond to His gifts with grateful love. Pope Benedict went on to say, "[The one who] welcomes the gifts of God in a selfish way, does not find true joy. Rather, it is the one who takes occasion by the gifts received from God to love Him with sincere gratitude and to communicate to others his love, who has a heart full of joy.” He concluded, “Let us remember this!” Listen: