Mary "is the 'way' that God himself prepared for his coming into the world."
Before praying the Angelus today with those gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope called the liturgical season "a time of openness to God's future."
"In the Advent liturgy," he explained, "there resounds a message full of hope, which invites us to lift up our gaze to the ultimate horizon, but at the same time to recognize the signs of God-with-us in the present."
The Pontiff said that just as in the Old Testament, when God liberated the Israelites from "bitter exile in Babylon," during Advent the Lord speaks "to the heart of his people and, through them, to the whole of humanity, to proclaim salvation."
"For populations worn out by misery and hunger, for throngs of refugees, for those who suffer grave and systematic violations of their rights, the Church is as a sentinel on the mountain of faith and she announces to them: 'Behold your God! The Lord your God comes in power,'" said the Holy Father.
"This prophetic announcement," continued Benedict XVI, "is realized in Jesus Christ. He, with his preaching and then with his death and resurrection, fulfilled the ancient promises, revealing a deeper and more universal perspective.
"He inaugurated an exodus that was no longer a merely earthly, historical, and as such provisional, exodus, but one that was radical and definitive: the passage from the kingdom of evil to the Kingdom of God, from the dominion of sin and death to that of love and life."
"Christian hope," he said, "transcends the legitimate desire for a social and political liberation, because that what Jesus began is a new humanity that comes 'from God,' but that at the same time germinates on our earth, to the extent that it lets itself be impregnated by the Spirit of the Lord."
"Justice and peace, in fact, are God's gift, but they require men and women who are 'good soil,' ready to receive the good seed of his Word," the Pope added.
While the Holy Father affirmed Jesus to be "the first fruit of this new humanity," he said Mary "is the 'way' that God himself prepared for his coming into the world."
The Pope continued: "With all her humility, Mary walks at the head of the new Israel in the exodus from every exile, from all oppression, from every moral and material slavery, toward 'the new heavens and the new earth, in which justice lives.'"
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