Sunday, December 1, 2019

Angelus for the first Sunday of Advent

At the conclusion of the Eucharistic Celebration with the Congolese Catholic Community of Rome, which was celebrated inside the Vatican Basilica on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Chaplaincy of the Congolese Catholic Community in Rome, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Angelus with the faithful and will pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today, the first Sunday of the Advent season, we begin a new liturgical year.  In these four weeks of Advent, the liturgy prepares us for the celebration of Jesus' birthday, while we remember that He comes to us every day of our lives, and will return gloriously at the end of time.  Such certainty leads us to look to the future with faith, as the prophet Isaiah invites us to do.  With his inspiring voice, he will accompany us along the journey of Advent.

In the first reading today, Isaiah prophecies that at the end of time, the mountain of the temple of the Lord will be fixed on the summit of the mountains and will rise above the hills; all people will come streaming toward it (Is 2:2).  The temple of the Lord in Jerusalem is presented as the point of convergence and of meeting for all peoples.  After the Incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus himself was revealed 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 the ultimate end of all history. All those who are hungry and thirsty for justice can find it only by following 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 God's ways.

In today's gospel, Jesus exhorts us to be ready for his arrival: Therefore be watchful, for you do not know on what day your Lord will come (Mt 24:42). Watching does not mean to literally have our eyes open, but to have a free heart turned in the right direction, that is, disposed towards giving and serving. This is what it means to be 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, the abandoned or a sick brother. The expectation of Jesus who is coming must therefore be translated into a commitment to vigilance. It is above all a question of marvelling at the action of God, at his surprises, and a matter of giving Him the primacy. Vigilance also means, concretely, to be attentive to our neighbour who is 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 such needs, as God always does with us.

May Mary, the vigilant Virgin and Mother of hope, guide us along this path, helping us to focus our gaze on the mountain of the Lord, the image of Jesus Christ, who draws to himself all men and women, all peoples.

At the conclusion of the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters!

I am following with preoccupation the situation that is unfolding in Iraq.  I have learned the sad news about the demonstrations and protests that have taken place in recent days, actions that have been met with difficult reactions which have caused many to be killed and wounded.  I am praying for all the dead and for those who have been wounded; I am close to their families and to the entire Iraqi people, invoking peace and concord for them from God.

The Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life has begun a new International consultative Organization for young people, made up of twenty youth from various geographic locations and ecclesial backgrounds.  This is a concrete response to the Synod dedicated to young people that was held last year (cf Final Document, 123).  The task of this body is to help us understand the vision of young people concerning the priorities of youth ministry and other themes of more general interest.  Let us pray for them.

I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from various other countries!  In particular, the faithful who have come from Poland and the children's choir from Bucarest.

I greet the groups from Giulianova Lido, Nettuno and Jesi; as well as the pilgrims from Cavarzere with the Serafin choir, and the Association of Romanians in Italy.

This afternoon, I will go to Greccio, to the place where Saint Francis created the first manger scene.  There, I will sign a Letter on the significance and the value of the manger.  The manger is simple and admirable sign of Christian faith.  It is a short Letter, which can be helpful as we prepare for Christmas.  Please accompany me with your prayers as I make this voyage.

I wish you all a good Sunday and a good Advent.  Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye!
Testo originale nella lingua italiana

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