Papal Homily at Vespers of First Sunday of Advent
"The Lord Always Wants to Come Through Us"
VATICAN CITY, Dec. 14, 2005 (ZENIT) - Here is a translation of a homily improvised by Benedict XVI for the first vespers of the First Sunday of Advent, celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica on Nov. 26.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
With the celebration of First Vespers of the First Sunday in Advent we are beginning a new liturgical year. In singing the psalms together, we have raised our hearts to God, placing ourselves in the spiritual attitude that marks this season of grace: "vigilance in prayer" and "exultation in praise" (cf. Roman Missal, Advent Preface, II/A).
Taking as our model Mary Most Holy, who teaches us to live by devoutly listening to the Word of God, let us reflect on the short Bible reading just proclaimed.
It consists of two verses contained in the concluding part of the First Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). The first expresses the Apostle's greeting to the community: The second offers, as it were, the guarantee of its fulfillment.
The hope expressed is that each one may be made holy by God and preserved irreproachable in his entire person -- "spirit, soul and body" -- for the final coming of the Lord Jesus; the guarantee that this can happen is offered by the faithfulness of God himself, who will not fail to bring to completion the work he has begun in believers.
This First Letter to the Thessalonians is the first of all St. Paul's Letters, written probably in the year 51. In this first letter we can feel, more than in the others, the Apostle's pulsating heart, his paternal, indeed we can say maternal, love for this new community. And we also feel his anxious concern that the faith of this new Church not die, surrounded as she was by a cultural context in many regards in opposition to the faith.
Thus, Paul ends his letter with a hope, or we might almost say with a prayer. The content of the prayer we have heard is that they [the Thessalonians] should be holy and irreproachable to the moment of the Lord's coming. The central word of this prayer is "coming." We should ask ourselves what does "coming of the Lord" mean? In Greek it is "parousia," in Latin "adventus," "advent," "coming." What is this "coming"? Does it involve us or not?
To understand the meaning of this word, hence, of the Apostle's prayer for this community and for communities of all times -- also for us -- we must look at the person through whom the coming of the Lord was uniquely brought about: the Virgin Mary.
Mary belonged to that part of the people of Israel who in Jesus' time were waiting with heartfelt expectation for the Savior's coming. And from the words and acts recounted in the Gospel, we can see how she truly lived steeped in the prophets' words; she entirely expected the Lord's coming.
She could not, however, have imagined how this coming would be brought about. Perhaps she expected a coming in glory. The moment when the Archangel Gabriel entered her house and told her that the Lord, the Savior, wanted to take flesh in her, wanted to bring about his coming through her, must have been all the more surprising to her.
We can imagine the Virgin's apprehension. Mary, with a tremendous act of faith and obedience, said "yes": "I am the servant of the Lord." And so it was that she became the "dwelling place" of the Lord, a true "temple" in the world and a "door" through which the Lord entered upon the earth.
We have said that this coming was unique: "the" coming of the Lord. Yet there is not only the final coming at the end of time: In a certain sense the Lord always wants to come through us. And he knocks at the door of our hearts: Are you willing to give me your flesh, your time, your life?
This is the voice of the Lord who also wants to enter our epoch, he wants to enter human life through us. He also seeks a living dwelling place in our personal lives. This is the coming of the Lord. Let us once again learn this in the season of Advent: The Lord can also come among us.
Therefore we can say that this prayer, this hope, expressed by the Apostle, contains a fundamental truth that he seeks to inculcate in the faithful of the community he founded and that we can sum up as follows: God calls us to communion with him, which will be completely fulfilled in the return of Christ, and he himself strives to ensure that we will arrive prepared for this final and decisive encounter. The future is, so to speak, contained in the present, or better, in the presence of God himself, who in his unfailing love does not leave us on our own or abandon us even for an instant, just as a father and mother never stop caring for their children while they are growing up.
Before Christ who comes, men and women are defined in the whole of their being, which the Apostle sums up in the words "spirit, soul and body," thereby indicating the whole of the human person as a unit with somatic, psychic and spiritual dimensions. Sanctification is God's gift and his project, but human beings are called to respond with their entire being without excluding any part of themselves.
It is the Holy Spirit himself who formed in the Virgin's womb Jesus, the perfect Man, who brings God's marvelous plan to completion in the human person, first of all by transforming the heart and from this center, all the rest.
Thus, the entire work of creation and redemption which God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, continues to bring about, from the beginning to the end of the cosmos and of history, is summed up in every individual person. And since the first coming of Christ is at the center of the history of humanity and at its end, his glorious return, so every personal existence is called to be measured against him -- in a mysterious and multiform way -- during the earthly pilgrimage, in order to be found "in him" at the moment of his return.
May Mary Most Holy, the faithful Virgin, guide us to make this time of Advent and of the whole new liturgical year a path of genuine sanctification, to the praise and glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
[Translation of the Italian original distributed by the Holy See]
http://www.catholic.org , VA
Pope Benedict XVI - Bishop of Rome, 661 869-1000
Pope, Benedict, Advent, Vespers
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Saturday, July 22, 2017
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, July 25th, 2017 HD Video
- St. Mary Magdalene: Saint of the Day for Saturday, July 22, 2017
- Vatican says report on abuse in Germany shows progress in fight ...
- Statues of the Virgin Mary triumphantly return to Iraq, after defeat ...
- Video captures moment killer quake strikes in Greece
- Many Blessings! Family celebrates 100 children
- holy spirit
- morning prayer
- Saint Elizabeth
- St. Augustine
- Saint Anne
- st agnes
- saint monica
- saint catherine
- Saint Lucy
- saint clare
- saint rose
- st rose of lima
- immaculate conception
- st augustine
- st monica
- saint of the day
- St. Elizabeth
- john bosco
- st catherine
- Daily Reading for Monday, July 24th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, July 23rd, 2017 HD
- Deadbeat Republicans, do your job or GET OUT! HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 HD