Pope Calls on Faithful to Prepare Their Hearts for Christmas

Reflects on the Joy of Being Found by the Lord, During Mass Homily

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In preparing for the Christmas season, Pope Francis has called on the faithful to open their hearts and let the Lord encounter them.

During his homily today at Casa Santa Marta this morning, the first week of Advent, the Holy Father reflected on the Gospel reading. The passage was about the centurion’s faith when asking Jesus to heal his servant.

Christmas, the Pope said, is not a temporary occurrence or a reminder of something beautiful that happened in the past, but rather, an encounter with the Lord.

Christmas, he stressed, is an encounter, a meeting with the Lord in faith. “It is not easy to live with faith,” the Pope said. “The Lord, in the word that we have heard, marvelled at this centurion; He marvelled at the faith that he had. He had made a path to meet the Lord, but he did it with faith.”

“For this he not only encountered the Lord, but he felt the joy of being found by the Lord. And this is exactly the encounter we want: the encounter of faith!”

However, the Holy Father said that it is more important to also let oneself be found by the Lord. The coming of Christ means allowing Him to making everything new again.

“We are on a path of faith, with the faith of this centurion, to encounter the Lord and above all to let ourselves be met by Him!” the Pope exclaimed.

For this encounter to happen, the Holy Father told the faithful that one must have an open heart that allows one to be found by the Lord.

“He is the Lord and He will tell me what he has for me, because the Lord does not look at us all together, as one mass. No, no! He looks at each one of our faces, in the eyes, because love is not a love like that, abstract: it is a concrete love,” he said.

“To let yourselves be found by the Lord is precisely this: to let yourselves be loved by the Lord!”

Concluding his homily, Pope Francis urged perseverance in prayer, charity and praise during this path towards Christmas so that Christ may find us with an open heart. (J.A.E.)

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