Here is a translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
As a gift from the Holy Father, 50,000 prayerbooks, produced by the Office of Papal Charities and published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana (the Vatican publishing house), were distributed to those gathered in the square.
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Dear brother and sisters, dear children and young people, good day.
For the last two weeks, the season of Advent has invited us to spiritual vigilance so as to prepare the way of the Lord, the Lord who comes. On this third Sunday, the liturgy proposes to us another interior attitude for living this awaiting of the Lord, that is, joy. As this sign says [indicating a sign in the crowd: “Con Gesù la gioia è di casa”]: With Jesus, joy is part of the home. That proposes to us the joy of Jesus.
The heart of man desires joy. All of us aspire to joy. Every family, every people aspires to happiness. But what is the joy to which the Christian is called to live and to give witness? It is that that comes from the closeness of God, of his presence in our lives. Since Jesus entered history, with his birth in Bethlehem, humanity has received the seed of the Kingdom of God, as the earth receives a seed, the promise of a future harvest. We don’t need to look elsewhere. Jesus came to bring joy to everyone and for ever.
It is not a joy that is merely anticipated or set in paradise — “here on earth we are sad but in paradise, we’ll be happy.” No. It’s not that. Rather, [it is] a joy that is already real and that can be felt now, because Jesus himself is our joy, is our home.
As that sign of yours says, “With Jesus, joy part of the home,” let us repeat this again, “With Jesus, joy is part of the home.” And without Jesus, is their joy? No. Jesus is alive. He is the risen one and he works in us, especially with his word and the sacraments.
All of us who are baptized, the children of the Church, are called to welcome ever again the presence of God in our midst and to help others to discover it, or to rediscover it if we’ve forgotten it. It is a beautiful mission, similar to that of John the Baptist: to point people toward Christ — not to ourselves — because He is the final goal toward which the human heart reaches when it seeks joy and happiness.
Again St. Paul in today’s liturgy indicates for us the conditions for being a “missionary of joy”: to pray with perseverance, to always give thanks to God, to follow his Spirit, to seek the good and avoid evil. If this would be our style of life, then the Good News could enter into so many houses and help people and families to discover that salvation is in Jesus. In Him, it is possible to find interior peace and the strength to face daily the various situations of life, even the most difficult and costly.
A sad saint or a saint with a face of mourning was never heard of. It’s never been heard of. It would be a contradiction.
The Christian is a person who has his heart full of peace, because he knows how to place his joy in the Lord, even when the difficult moments of life arise.
To have faith does not mean to not have difficult moments, but to have the strength to face them, knowing we are not alone. And this is the Peace that God gives to his children.
With eyes set on Christmas, which is approaching, the Church invites us to give witness that Jesus is not a figure from the past. He is the word of God who today continues illuminating the path of man. His actions, the sacraments, are the manifestations of the tenderness, of the consolation, of the love of the Father for each human being. The Virgin Mary, “cause of our joy” always brings us back to joy in the Lord, who comes to free us from so many interior and exterior slaveries.[Then the Pope led the praying of the Angelus] [After the Angelus]
Dear brothers and sisters. I forgot the phrase. There, we see it: With Jesus, joy is part of the home. Let’s say it together: With Jesus, joy is part of the home.
I greet those present, families, parish groups and associations that have come here to Rome, from Italy and from so many parts of the world. In particular, I greet the pilgrims from Civitella Casanova, Catania, Gela, Altamura, and the youth from Frosinone.
In greeting the Polish pilgrims, I unite myself spiritually to your compatriots who today light the “Christmas candle” and reiterate the effort of solidarity, especially in this Year of Charity being celebrated in Poland.
Now I greet with affection the children, who have come for the blessing of the Bambinelli [Baby Jesus], organized by the Centro Oratori Romani. Congratulations. You’ve done very well, been full of joy here in the plaza. Congratulations. And now you take your blessed nativity. Dear children, I thank you for your presence and I wish you a happy Christmas. When you pray in your houses, before your nativity scenes, I ask you to remember me, as I remember you.
Prayer is the breath of the soul. It is important to find moments during the day to open the heart to God, also with simple and brief prayers of the Christian people. That’s why I decided to give you today a gift, for everyone here in the plaza, a surprise, a gift. A little pocket-sized book that has some prayers, for various moments of the day, and for various situations in life. It is this. Some volunteers will pass them out. Everyone take one and carry it with you always, as a tool to help you live the day with God.
Let us not forget this beautiful message that they have brought here on this sign. “With Jesus, joy is part of the home.” And to all of you I wish you affectionately a good Sunday and a good lunch. And don’t forget, please, to pray for me. See you later! So much joy![Translation by ZENIT]