On the Definitive Exodus

«From the Kingdom of Evil to the Kingdom of God»

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 7, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today before praying the Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

For a week now we have been experiencing the liturgical season of Advent: a time of openness to God’s future, a time of preparation for Christmas, when he, the Lord, who is the absolute novelty, came to dwell in the midst of this fallen humanity to renew it from within. In the Advent liturgy 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. On this second Sunday of Advent, the Word of God assumes the emotional aspects of the so-called Deutero-Isaiah, which finally announces liberation to the Israelites, who have suffered decades of bitter exile in Babylon: «Comfort, give comfort to my people,» the prophet says in God’s name. «Speak to Jerusalem’s heart and tell her that her tribulation is over» (Isaiah 40:1-2). This is what the Lord wants to do in Advent: to speak to the heart of his people and, through them, to the whole of humanity, to proclaim salvation.

Today as well the Church’s voice is lifted up: «Prepare a way for the Lord in the desert» (Isaiah 40:3). 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» (Isaiah 40:11).

This prophetic announcement 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. Because of this, Christian hope 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. It is thus a matter of entering fully into the logic of faith: believing in God, in his plan of salvation, and also working for the building up of his Kingdom. 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.

Jesus is the first fruit of this new humanity, the Son of God and the Son of Mary. She, the Virgin Mother, is the «way» that God himself prepared for his coming into the world. 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" (2 Peter 3:13). Let us entrust the desire for peace and salvation of the men of our time to her maternal intercession.

[After the Angelus the Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In Italian he said:]

The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, His Holiness Alexy II, died on Friday. We join our Orthodox brethren in prayer to recommend his soul to the goodness of the Lord, that he might welcome him into this kingdom of light and peace.

On Thursday, Dec. 11, in the afternoon, following the Holy Mass at which Cardinal Agostino Vallini will preside, I will meet with the students of the Roman universities in the Basilica of St. Peter. In observance of the Pauline Year, I will give the young students the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Romans. I will be happy to greet the students, along with the rectors, the professors and the technical and administrative staffs at this traditional gathering in preparation for Christmas.

I am happy to address a special greeting to the Chierici Mariani dell’Immacolata Concezione, who are beginning the jubilee of the rebirth and reform of their congregation. Dear brothers, may the Virgin Mary obtain abundant graces for you and help you always to remain faithful to your charism.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic] [In English he said:]

I greet the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims who are gathered here today. The Church puts before us, on this second Sunday of Advent, the figure of John the Baptist, the voice crying in the wilderness: «Prepare a way for the Lord». During this Advent season, as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of Christ, let us prepare a place for him in our hearts. I invoke God’s abundant blessings upon all of you, and upon your families and loved ones at home.

© Copyright 2008 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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