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Angelus: Advent, the Lord’s visit to humanity, 27.11.2016

The beginning of the new liturgical year, or rather the new journey of faith for the people of God, which opens with Advent, was the theme of this Sunday’s Angelus, prayed at midday by the Pope with the thousands of faithful present in St. Peter’s Square.

The Holy Father recalled that the day’s Gospel passage introduces us to one of the most representative themes of the time of Advent: the Lord’s visit to humanity. “As we know, the first visit took place with the Incarnation, the birth of Jesus in the stable of Bethlehem. The second visit occurs in the present: the Lord visits us continually every day, He journeys by our side and is a consoling presence; and finally, there will be the third, the last visit, which we profess each time we recite the Creed: ‘He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead’. Today the Lord speaks to us of this last visit, the one that will take place at the end of time, and He tells us where our journey will end”.

“The Word of God highlights the contrast between the normal development of things, the daily routine, and the sudden arrival of the Lord”, he continued. “Jesus says, ‘In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away’. It always surprises us when we think of the hours that precede a great calamity: everyone is calm, doing the usual things, without realising that their lives are about to be changed. The Gospel certainly does not want to make us afraid, but rather to open our view to a further, broader horizon that on the one hand relativises the things of our everyday life but at the same time makes them precious and decisive. The relationship with the God Who comes to visit us every day gives every gesture and everything a different light, weight and symbolic value”.

“From this perspective there also comes an invitation to sobriety, to not be dominated by the things of this world, by material realities, but instead to govern them. If on the contrary we allow ourselves to be conditioned and overcome by those things, we are unable to perceive that there is something far more important: our final encounter with the Lord, and this is important. That encounter. And the everyday things must have this horizon, they must be directed towards this horizon. This encounter with the Lord Who comes for us. In that moment, the Gospel tells us, ‘Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left’. It is an invitation to vigilance, because as we do not know when He will come, we must be always ready to depart”.

“In this time of Advent, we are called to broaden the horizons of our heart, to allow ourselves to be surprised by life, which presents us each day with its novelties. To do this, we must learn to not depend on our securities, on our closed way of thinking, because the Lord comes at an hour we are not expecting. He comes to introduce us to a greater and more beautiful dimension”.

“May Our Lady, the Virgin of Advent, help us to not consider ourselves the owners of our life, and not to resist when the Lord comes to change it, but to be ready to let ourselves be visited by Him, this gladly awaited guest, even though He will dismantle our plans”.