Pope's meditation on Advent: the final 'exodus' from slavery to sin
December 09, 2008
At his midday audience on Sunday, December 7, Pope Benedict XVI called attention to the prayers of the Advent liturgy, which "invites us to raise our eyes to the furthest horizon yet at the same time to recognize the signs of God-with-us here in the present."
The Holy Father told the crowd in St. Peter's Square that the Scriptural admonition to "prepare the way of the Lord" applies to today's Christians, who are called to help those "exhausted by poverty and hunger, the streams of refugees, those who suffer serious and systematic violations of their rights." For those needy people, he said, the Church "is like a sentinel on the high mountain of faith," proclaiming the coming of the Lord and his Kingdom.
The Pope went on to say that Jesus "inaugurated an exodus-- not just an earthly exodus, historical and hence provisional, but radical and definitive: the passage from the kingdom of evil to the Kingdom of God, from the domination of sin and death to that of love and life." During Advent, he said, Christians should make a special effort to conform themselves to their beliefs, recognize the arrival of that Kingdom, and "enter fully into the logic of faith by believing in God and his plan of salvation."
As he concluded his Sunday audience the Pope said that the Holy See joined the Russian Orthodox Church in mourning the death of Patriarch Alexei II, and would "commend his soul to the goodness of the Lord, that He may welcome him in his Kingdom of light and peace." The Vatican announced that a top-level delegation headed by Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, would attend the Patriarch's funeral in Moscow. Other members of the delegation included Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, a prelate whose long history of special diplomatic assignments has included trips to Moscow; and Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the apostolic nuncio in Russia.
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