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Advent begins observance of salvation drama, Pope tells audience

Catholic World News - December 03, 2012

“The full history of salvation is a journey of love, mercy and benevolence,” Pope Benedict XVI said as he presided at the first Vespers of Advent on December 1 in St. Peter’s basilica.

Speaking in his homily to a Saturday-evening congregation composed of students and teachers from Rome’s pontifical universities, the Holy Father said that the beginning of a new liturgical year opens “the path in which you once more relive the mystery of this trust in God, upon whom you are called to base your life, as on a solid rock.” He remarked that the Church’s liturgy is “the fundamental school for life in Christian faith.”

In a society marked by “indifference toward God,” the Pope said, Christians in academic life have a special duty to bear witness to the Gospel. “Faith is the door that God opens in our lives in order to lead us to the encounter with Christ,” he said. He made a special request for university students and teachers to testify to the Gospel during this Year of Faith.

On December 2, the first Sunday of Advent, the Pope told his midday audience that the term “advent” was used in the ancient world to refer to a visit by a king or emperor. Now “in the language of Christianity it refers to the coming of God, to his presence in the world; a mystery that involves the entire cosmos and all of history.”

Jesus will come again at the end of time, the Pope reminded his audience. “But before that end, it is necessary that the Gospel be proclaimed to all nations.” Although we do not know when the Second Coming will take place, he said, we do have the admonition of St. Paul: “Be vigilant at all times and pray.”

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