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Christ Is Coming! - Pope Benedict XVI

"To Knock on the Door of Every Man and Woman of Good Will"

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 4, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered Sunday before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

I want to thank the Lord once again, along with you, for the apostolic journey I undertook over the past days to Turkey: I felt accompanied and supported by the prayer of the whole Christian community. I address to all my cordial gratitude!

Next Wednesday, during the general audience, I will have the opportunity to speak at greater length of this unforgettable spiritual and pastoral experience, which I hope will bear good fruits for an ever more sincere cooperation among the disciples of Christ and for a fruitful dialogue with Muslim believers.

Now I am compelled to renew my gratitude to those who organized the trip and contributed in different ways to its peaceful and fruitful unfolding. In particular, I am thinking of Turkey's authorities and of the friendly Turkish people, who offered me a welcome worthy of their traditional spirit of hospitality.

Above all I would like to remember with affection and recognition the beloved Catholic community, which lives on Turkish soil. I think of it as we enter, this Sunday, in the time of Advent.

I was able to see and celebrate Holy Mass with these brothers and sisters of ours, who are in conditions that are often difficult. It is truly a small, varied flock rich in enthusiasm and faith which, so to speak, lives the Advent experience constantly and intensely, supported by hope.

In Advent, the liturgy often repeats and assures us, as though seeking to defeat our mistrust, that God "is coming": He comes to be with us, in each one of our situations; he comes to live among us, to live with and in us; he comes to fill the distances that divide and separate us; he comes to reconcile us with himself and with one another. He comes in the history of humanity to knock on the door of every man and woman of good will to offer individuals, families and peoples the gift of fraternity, concord and peace.

Therefore, Advent is par excellence the time of hope, in which believers in Christ are invited to remain in vigilant and active expectation, nourished by prayer and by a concrete commitment of love. May Christ's approaching nativity fill the hearts of all Christians with joy, serenity and peace!

To live this Advent period more authentically and fruitfully, the liturgy exhorts us to look at Mary most holy and to undertake spiritually with her the path to the cave of Bethlehem. When God knocked on the door of her youth, she received him with faith and love. In a few days, we will contemplate her in the luminous mystery of her Immaculate Conception. Let us be attracted by her beauty, reflection of divine glory, so that "the God that is coming" will find in each one of us a good and open heart, which he can fill with his gifts.

[At the end of the Angelus, the Pope greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English he said:]

I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Angelus. Today, the first Sunday of Advent, the Church begins a new liturgical year.

The Gospel speaks of Christ, the son of man, and invites us to prepare our hearts to receive him. May Advent be a time of purification that leads to love, as we look with hope to the dawn of his coming. I wish you all a pleasant stay in Rome, and a blessed Sunday!

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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