St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 1 December 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today, the first Sunday of Advent, a new liturgical year begins. In these four weeks of Advent, the liturgy leads us to celebrate the Christmas of Jesus, as it reminds us that He comes every day into our lives, and will return gloriously at the end of time. This certainty leads us to look to the future with confidence, as the prophet Isaiah invites us to, who with his inspired voice accompanies the whole journey of Advent.
In the first Reading of today, Isaiah prophesies that "at the end of days, the mountain of the temple of the Lord will be fixed on the top of the mountains and will rise above the hills; all peoples will flow to it "(2,2). The temple of the Lord in Jerusalem is presented as the point of convergence and meeting of all peoples. After the Incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus himself revealed himself as the true temple. Therefore, the wonderful vision of Isaiah is a divine promise and urges us to assume an attitude of pilgrimage, of a journey towards Christ, the meaning and end of all history. Those who are hungry and thirsty for justice, can find it only by walking the ways of the Lord; while evil and sin come from the fact that individuals and social groups prefer to follow paths dictated by selfish interests, which cause conflicts and wars. Advent is the right time to welcome the coming of Jesus, who comes as a messenger of peace to show us the ways of God.
In today's Gospel, Jesus exhorts us to be ready for his coming: "Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord will come" (Mt 24.42). Watching does not mean having your eyes open materially, but having your heart free and facing in the right direction, that is, willing to give and to serve. This is watching! The sleep from which we must awaken is constituted by indifference, vanity, the inability to establish genuinely human relationships, the inability to take charge of the lonely, abandoned or sick brother. The expectation of Jesus who comes must therefore be translated into a commitment to vigilance. It is above all a question of marveling at the action of God, of his surprises, and of giving Him the primacy. Vigilance also means, concretely, to be attentive to our neighbor in difficulty, to be challenged by his needs, without waiting for him or her to ask us for help, but to learn to prevent, to anticipate, as God always does with us.
Mary, Virgin vigilant and Mother of hope, guide us on this journey, helping us to turn our gaze to the "mountain of the Lord", image of Jesus Christ, who attracts to himself all men and all peoples.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters!
I am following the situation in Iraq with concern. I learned with grief that the protests in recent days have received a harsh reaction, which has caused dozens of victims. I pray for the dead and the wounded; I am close to their families and to the entire Iraqi people, invoking peace and concord from God.
The Department for the Laity, the Family and Life has established a new International Youth Advisory Body, made up of twenty young people from different geographical and ecclesial backgrounds. It is a concrete response to the solicitation of the Synod dedicated to young people last year (see fin. Doc., 123). The task of this body is to help understand the vision of young people on the priorities of youth ministry and on other topics of more general interest. We pray for this.
I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from various countries! In particular, the faithful from Poland and the children's choir from Bucharest.
I greet the groups of Giulianova Lido, Nettuno and Jesi; as well as the Cavarzere pilgrims with the "Serafin" choir, and the Romanian Association in Italy.
This afternoon I will go to Greccio, to the place where St. Francis made the first nativity scene. There I will sign a letter on the meaning and value of the crib. The crib is a simple and wonderful sign of the Christian faith. It is a short letter, which can do good to prepare for Christmas. Accompany me with prayer on this journey.
I wish you all a good Sunday and a good Advent journey. Please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye.
Source: Full Text + Image : Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation