VATICAN CITY, DEC. 2, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II´s address at St. Peter´s Square today before the midday Angelus.
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Dearest Brothers and Sisters!
1. With today´s first Sunday of Advent, a new liturgical year begins. The Church takes up her journey again, and invites us to reflect more profoundly on the mystery of Christ, a mystery that is always new and that time cannot exhaust. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Thanks to him, the history of humanity proceeds as a pilgrimage toward the fulfillment of the Kingdom, which he himself inaugurated with his incarnation and victory over sin and death.
Because of this, Advent is synonymous with hope: not the vain awaiting of a faceless god, but concrete and certain trust in the return of him who has already visited us, of the “Spouse” who has sealed a pact of eternal alliance with humanity in his blood. It is a hope that stimulates vigilance, the characteristic virtue of this singular liturgical time. Vigilance in prayer, fostered by a loving expectation; vigilance in the dynamics of concrete charity, aware that the Kingdom of God comes close wherever men learn to live as brothers.
2. The Christian community begins Advent with these feelings, maintaining the spirit vigilant, to better receive the message of the Word of God. The famous and wonderful saying of the prophet Isaiah resounds in today´s liturgy, spoken at a time of crisis in the history of Israel. “In days to come, the mountain of the Lord´s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; … / They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; / One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again” ([see] Isaiah 2:1-5).
These words contain a promise of peace more urgent than ever for humanity and, in particular, for the Holy Land, from where even today, unfortunately, sad and worrying new reaches us. May the words of the prophet Isaiah inspire the minds and hearts of believers and of men of good will, so that the day of fasting — on Dec. 14 — and the meeting in Assisi of representatives of the religions of world — next Jan. 24 — will help to create a more relaxed and mutually supportive climate in the world.
3. I entrust this invocation of peace to Mary, vigilant Virgin and Mother of hope. With renewed faith, in a few days we will celebrate the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. May she guide us on this way, helping every man and nation to look toward the “mountain of the Lord,” image of the final triumph of Christ and the advent of his Kingdom of peace.
[Translation by ZENIT]