Vatican City, 14 December 2014 (VIS) – Today, the third Sunday of Advent, known as the “Sunday of Joy” (Gaudete), Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, including many children who had brought their figurines of the baby Jesus from their Nativity displays, to be blessed by the Holy Father.
Francis remarked that the time of Advent, which began two weeks ago, invites us to spiritual vigilance to prepare the way for the Lord who is on his way. “On this third Sunday the liturgy proposes to us another inner attitude with which to await the Lord: joy. Man's heart desires joy. We all wish for joy, every family, every population aspires to happiness. But what is the joy that the Christian is required to live and to bear witness to? It is that which comes from closeness to God, from His presence in our life. Ever since Jesus entered into history, with his birth in Bethlehem, humanity has received the germ of the Kingdom of God, like the terrain that receives the seed, the promise of a future harvest. There is no need to search elsewhere! Jesus has come to bring joy to all for ever. It is not merely a hoped-for joy, or a joy postponed to paradise: here on earth we are sad but in paradise we will be joyful. No! It is not this, but rather it is a joy that is already real and that can be experienced now, because Jesus Himself is our joy, and with Jesus our home is joyful”.
“We baptised sons and daughters of the Church, all of us, are called upon to always welcome newly the presence of God among us and to help others to discover this presence, or to rediscover it if they have forgotten. It is a beautiful mission, similar to that of John the Baptist: guiding people towards Jesus – not to ourselves! – because it is towards Him that the human heart tends when it seeks joy and happiness”.
“St. Paul, in today's liturgy, indicates the conditions for being missionaries of joy: pray diligently, always give thanks to God, follow His Spirit, seek that which is good and avoid evil”, continued the Pope. “If this is our way of life, then the Good News will be able to enter into many homes and to help people and families rediscover that in Jesus, there is salvation. In Him it is possible to find inner peace and the strength to face each day the different situations of life, even the most onerous and difficult. We never hear about a sad saint or a saint with a gloomy appearance. It would be contradictory. A Christian is a person whose heart is filled with peace because he or she knows to place joy in the Lord even when experiencing difficult moments in life. To have faith does not mean not having difficult moments, but rather having the strength to face them knowing that we are not alone. And this is the peace God gives to His sons and daughters”.