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Monday, December 3, 2012


Vatican City,  (VIS) - "The word 'advent' means 'coming' or 'presence', said the Pope to the faithful gathered yesterday in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus, as the Church began a new liturgical year. "In the ancient world it indicated the visit of the king or emperor to a province; in the language of Christianity it refers to the coming of God, to his presence in the world; a mystery that involves the entire cosmos and all of history, and with two culminating moments: the first and the second coming of Jesus Christ".

Benedict XVI explained that these two culminating moments are first the Incarnation, and then the glorious return of Christ at the end of time. "These two moments, chronologically distant – and it is not given to us to know how far apart they are – touch us deeply, because by His death and resurrection Jesus has already accomplished that transformation of humanity and of the cosmos that is the final goal of creation. But before that end, it is necessary that the Gospel be proclaimed to all nations, as Jesus says in the Gospel of Saint Mark. The coming of Christ is continuous; the world must be infused by His presence. This permanent coming of the Lord in the proclamation of the Gospel requires our continual collaboration; and the Church ... in communion with her Lord, collaborates in this coming of the Lord, in which His glorious return has already begun".

The Word of God traces "a line of conduct to pursue in order to be ready for the coming of the Lord. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says to the disciples, 'Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life ... Be vigilant at all times and pray', inviting them to simplicity and prayer. The apostle Paul encourages them to 'increase and abound in love' among themselves and towards others. ... In the midst of the turmoil of the world, or the desert of indifference and materialism, Christians accept the salvation of God and bear witness to it by following a different way of life. ... The community of believers is a sign of the love of God, of His justice that is already present and working in history, but not yet fully realised, and that therefore should always be awaited, invoked, and sought after with patience and courage".

Following the Angelus, the Pope mentioned that today in Kottar, India, the layperson and martyr Devasahayam Pillai, who lived in the eighteenth century, was beatified. "We unite ourselves to the joy of the Church in India and pray that the new Blessed may sustain the faith of Christians in that great and noble country".

"Tomorrow", he added, "we celebrate the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Each individual, with his or her physical or psychological limits, including those of a  serious nature, is always of inestimable value and must be considered as such. I encourage ecclesial communities to take care to welcome these brothers and sisters of ours, and urge legislators and governors to protect those with disabilities and to promote their full participation in the life of our society as a whole".

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