On the Master of the World

"Hearts Are Reawakened to the Expectation of Christ's Return"
"Hearts Are Reawakened to the Expectation of Christ's Return"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is a L'Osservatore Romano translation of Benedict XVI's address Sunday before and after praying the midday Angelus with crowds in St. Peter's Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Today the whole Church begins a new liturgical year: a journey of faith to be lived together within Christian communities, but also, as always, within the history of the world, to open it to the mystery of God, to the salvation that comes from his love. The liturgical year begins with the period of Advent: a wonderful time in which people's hearts are reawakened to the expectation of Christ's return and to the memory of His first coming, when He divested Himself of His divine glory to assume our mortal flesh.

"Stay awake!" This is Jesus' call in today's Gospel. He directs it not only to his disciples, but to everyone: "Stay awake! (Mt, Mk 13:37). It is a timely reminder that life has not only an earthly dimension, but is projected, "beyond," like a small seedling whose shoots open from the earth towards heaven. A small thinking seedling, man, gifted with freedom and responsibility, for which each one of us will be called to render account of how he has lived, how he has used his abilities: if he has kept them for himself or he has made them bear fruit for the good of others.

"Isaiah, the prophet of Advent, also makes us think today with his heartfelt prayer addressed to God in the name of his people. He dwells on the shortcomings of his people and at a certain point says: 'There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hands of iniquity'. How can we not be struck by this description? It seems to reflect certain aspects of the post-modern world: cities where life has become anonymous and horizontal, where God seems to be absent and only man is master, as if he were the universal architect. Building, work, economy, transport, science, technology, everything seems to depend only upon man. And at times, in this apparently perfect world, terrible things happen, either in nature or society, which make us think that God has withdrawn and has, so to say, left us to our own devices.

"In reality, the real 'master' of the world is not man but God. The Gospel says: 'stay awake for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly'. Advent comes every year to remind us of this fact, that our lives might find their just orientation towards the face of God. The face not of a 'master', but of a Father and a Friend".

With the Virgin Mary, who guides us on our Advent journey, let us make the words of the prophet our own. "Lord, you are our father; we are the clay and you our potter: we are all the work of your hands." (Is 64:7)

[After the Angelus, he said in English:]

I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Angelus prayer. Today, the Church begins the celebration of Advent, which marks the beginning of a new liturgical year and our spiritual preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Let us heed the message in today’s Gospel by entering prayerfully into this holy season, so that we may be ready to greet Jesus Christ, who is God with us. I wish you all a good Sunday. May God bless all of you!

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