Angelus of His Holiness Benedict XVI
Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 27 November 2005
First Sunday of Advent
Advent begins this Sunday.
It is a very evocative
religious season because
it is interwoven with
spiritual expectation: every time the Christian community
prepares to commemorate the Redeemer's birth,
it feels a quiver of joy which to a
certain extent it communicates to the whole of society.
In Advent, Christians relive a
dual impulse of the
spirit: on the one hand, they
raise their eyes towards the final destination of their pilgrimage through
history, which is the glorious return of the
Lord Jesus; on the
other, remembering with emotion His birth
in Bethlehem, they kneel before the Crib.
The hope of Christians is turned
to the future but remains firmly rooted in an event of the past. In the
fullness of time, the Son of God was
born of the Virgin Mary: "Born
of a woman, born under the law", as the Apostle Paul writes (Galatians
Today's Gospel invites us to stay on guard as we await the final
coming of Christ. "Look
around you!", Jesus says. "You
do not know when the master of the house is coming" (Mark
13:35). The short parable of the master who went on a journey and the servants
responsible for acting in his place highlights how important it is to be ready
to welcome the Lord when
He suddenly returns. The Christian
community waits anxiously for His "manifestation",
and the Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, urges them to
trust in God's fidelity and to live so as to
be found "blameless" (cf. 1Corinthians 1:7-9) on the day of the
Lord. Most appropriately, therefore, the
liturgy at the beginning of Advent puts on
our lips the Psalm: "Show us, O Lord, your
kindness, and grant us your salvation" (cf. Psalm 85:8).
We might say that Advent is the season in
which Christians must rekindle in their
hearts the hope that they will be
able, with God's help, to renew the world.
In this regard I would also like to remember today the Constitution of the
Second Vatican Council,
Gaudium et Spes, on the Church in the Modern World: it is
a text deeply imbued with Christian hope.
I am referring in particular to n. 39, entitled "New Heavens and a New
Earth". In it we read: "We are taught that God is
preparing a new dwelling and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (cf.
2Corinthians 5:2; 2Peter 3:13).... Far from diminishing our concern to develop
this earth, the expectancy of a new earth should spur us on, for it is here that
the body of a new human family grows".
Indeed, we will find the good fruits of
our hard work when Christ delivers to the
Father His eternal
and universal Kingdom. May
Mary Most Holy,
Virgin of Advent, obtain that we live this time of
grace in a watchful and hardworking
way while we await the Lord.