During Sunday’s Angelus address, Pope Francis marked the beginning of the new liturgical year and the First Sunday of Advent by calling upon the faithful to avoid being dominated by the things of the world this season so that we can let ourselves be “surprised by life” as it presents itself each day.
Vatican Radio is reporting on the remarks made by the pope while reflecting on the main theme of Advent which is the three visits of the Lord to humanity.
The first visit occurred with the Incarnation and the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem. The second is Jesus as He visits us each day. The third and final visit is in the future when Jesus “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.”
These themes encourage us to reflect on the contrast between our daily routine and the unexpected coming of the Lord, not to frighten us, the pope insists, but to “open our horizons” in order to give meaning to every day occurrences.
This perspective is an invitation to “sobriety, to not be dominated by the things of this world” but rather to keep them in their proper place. If we are too concerned with material things, we will not be able to perceive what is much more important – our final encounter with the Lord. This is why Advent is “an invitation to vigilance, because, not knowing when He will come, we must always be ready to depart.”
During Advent, Pope Francis concluded, “we are called to enlarge the horizons of our hearts, to be surprised by the life that is presented each day with its newness. In order to do this we need to learn to not depend on our own securities, our own established plans, because the Lord comes in the hour which we don’t imagine.”
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