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The Beauty of Liturgical Ordinary Time

"For the Believer, It Is an Incessant Search and New Discovery"

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 16, 2006 (ZENIT) - Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's address Sunday at midday when praying the Angelus with people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Last Sunday, in which we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord, the Ordinary Time of the liturgical year began. The beauty of this time lies in the fact that it invites us to live our ordinary life as a way of holiness, that is, of faith and friendship with Jesus, continually discovered and rediscovered as teacher and lord, way, truth and life of man.

This is what John's Gospel suggests to us in today's liturgy, on presenting to us the first meeting between Jesus and of some of those who became his apostles. They were disciples of John the Baptist, and he in fact brought them to Jesus when, after the baptism in the Jordan, he presented him as the "Lamb of God" (John 1:36).

Two of his disciples then followed the Messiah, who asked them: "What do you seek?" The two asked him: "Rabbi, where are you staying?" And Jesus answered: "Come and see," that is, he invited them to follow him and to spend some time with him.

They were so impressed in the few hours they spent with Jesus, that immediately one of them, Andrew, went to see his brother Simon to tell him: "We have found the Messiah." We are before two particularly significant words: "seek" and "find."

We can extract these two verbs from today's evangelical passage and draw a fundamental guideline for the new year, a time in which we want to renew our spiritual journey with Jesus, with the joy of seeking and finding him incessantly. The most authentic joy, in fact, is in the relationship with him, having found, followed, known and loved him thanks to a continuous tension of the mind and heart.

To be a disciple of Christ: This is enough for the Christian. Friendship with the Master assures the soul profound peace and serenity, even in dark moments and the most difficult trials. When faith goes through dark nights, when one no longer "hears" or "sees" God's presence, friendship with Jesus guarantees that, in reality, there is nothing that can separate us from his love (cf. Romans 8:39).

To seek and find Christ, inexhaustible source of truth and life, is what the word of God invites us take up again, at the beginning of a new year, this journey of faith that never ends. "Rabbi, where do you live?" We also ask Christ and he answers: "Come and see."

For the believer, it is an incessant search and new discovery as Christ is the same yesterday, today and always, but we, the world, history, are never the same, and he comes to us to give us his communion and his fullness of life. Let us ask the Virgin Mary to help us follow Jesus, experiencing every day the joy of penetrating ever more in his mystery.

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father added:]

The 2006 World Day of Migrants and Refugees is being observed today. Migrations constitute a very widespread phenomenon in the present-day world: they are a "sign of the times." This phenomenon appears in very varied ways: Migration can be voluntary or forced, legal or illegal, for reasons of work or study. If, on one hand, respect is affirmed for ethnic and cultural differences, on the other there are difficulties of acceptance and integration.

The Church encourages taking advantage of what is positive of this sign of the times, overcoming every form of discrimination, injustice and contempt of the human person, as every man is an image of God.

Today the Diocese of Rome is observing Catholic School Day. I greet the directors, teachers, parents and students gathered here and I encourage them to continue with their commitment in favor of an integral education, which endeavors to unite the quality of education with the Christian conception of man and society.

I desire a constant collaboration between the family and the school, as well as full recognition of the service offered by Catholic schools. Happy school year!

[The Pope then greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's Angelus. May your stay here in Rome be a time of spiritual enrichment, marked by the readiness to embrace the will of the Father. Upon you and your loved ones, I invoke the grace and peace of our Lord!

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Keywords

Pope, Benedict, Angelus, Believe, Search, Baptism, Lord

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