Word of God Moves History, Says Pope

Affirms Gospel Is Not a Myth

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Word of God is the subject that moves history, descending upon the earth so that it produces fruit, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope made this reflection today before he prayed the midday Angelus with those who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

The Holy Father noted that today’s liturgy for the Second Sunday of Advent has a Gospel reading in which “St. Luke prepares the scene, so to speak, in which Jesus will open and begin his public mission.”

With the list of rulers, “the evangelist […] traces with great precision the coordinates in space and time of his preaching,” the Pontiff observed.

Straightening the way

Benedict XVI proposed that two things stand out in Luke’s text: “The first is the abundance of references to all the political and religious authorities of Palestine in 27-28 A.D. Evidently the evangelist wants to point out to the reader or listener that the Gospel is not a myth, but the account of a true story, that Jesus of Nazareth is a historical personage inserted in that precise context. 

“The second element worthy of note is that, after this ample historical introduction, the subject becomes ‘the word of God,’ presented as a force that descends from on high and comes to rest upon John the Baptist.”

The Pope affirmed that indeed it is the Word of God “that moves history, inspires prophets, prepares the way for the Messiah, convokes the Church. Jesus himself is the divine Word that became flesh in Mary’s virginal womb: In him God is fully revealed, he has spoken and given us everything, opening the treasuries of his truth and of his mercy to us.”

The Holy Father cited St. Ambrose, saying, “So, the Word descended that the earth, which before had been a desert, would produce its fruits for us.”

And, he continued, the “most beautiful flower that has sprung up from the word of God is the Virgin Mary. She is the first fruits of the Church, garden of God on earth.”

However, the Bishop of Rome recognized, while Mary is immaculate — as the liturgy celebrates Tuesday — the Church is always in need of purification.

“In the Church there is always a struggle taking place between the desert and the garden, between the sin that parches the earth and the grace that waters it so that it produces abundant fruits of holiness,” he said. “Let us therefore pray to the Mother of the Lord that she will help us, in this Advent season, to ‘straighten’ our ways, letting ourselves be guided by the word of God.”

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full translation of Angelus address: www.zenit.org/article-27754?l=english

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