Pope Francis had a short and warm message for the crowds gathered on December 15, 2019, in St. Peter’s Square to pray the noonday Angelus: Joy.
“To the prophet Isaiah’s explicit invitation to joy: ‘The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom’ (35:1) is opposed, in the Gospel, John the Baptist’s doubt: ‘Are you He who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ (Matthew 11:3)” the Pope recalled.
“In fact, the prophet sees beyond the situation: he has before him discouraged people: weak hands, hesitant knees, lost hearts (Cf. 35:3-4). It’s the same reality that in all times puts faith to the test. However, the man of God looks beyond, because the Holy Spirit makes him feel in his heart the power of His promise, and he proclaims salvation: “Be strong, fear not! Behold your God [. . . ] He will come and save you” (v. 4)”
The Holy Father went on to explain that the “new birth” in Jesus brings joy. It cleans a person of sin and rejuvenates.
John the Baptist, the Pope explained, had to “convert himself” to Jesus, even though ” “among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John”.
“Advent is a time of grace. It says to us that it’s not enough to believe in God: it’s necessary to purify our faith every day,” Francis reminded the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “As we draw close to Christmas, may the Virgin Mary help us not to let ourselves be distracted by exterior things, but to make room in our heart for Him who has already come, and wills to come again to heal our sicknesses and give us His joy.”