Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 03 December |
Saint of the Day: St. Francis Xavier
home iconChurch
line break icon

Pope: Challenge yourself; it's the first step to Christmas joy

POPE AUDIENCE

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA | I.MEDIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 12/17/18

Just as the soldiers and tax collectors asked John the Baptist, we must also ask, "What must I do?"

Before leading the midday Angelus on December 16, Pope Francis reflected on the Third Sunday of Advent and the invitation to joy, saying that a “spark of happiness” was lit in Nazareth.

The Angel Gabriel’s words to Mary at the Annunciation are an echo of the Prophet Zephaniah’s call to rejoice, he said.

What does the archangel Gabriel say? … “Rejoice,” he tells the Madonna. In a remote village in Galilee, in the heart of a young woman unknown to the world, God ignites the spark of happiness for the whole world.

Francis noted how in the First Reading, the inhabitants of the holy city are called to rejoice because the Lord has revoked His condemnation.

God has forgiven, He did not want to punish! As a consequence there is no longer any reason for sadness … there is no longer any reason for discouragement, but everything leads to a joyful gratitude to God, Who always wants to redeem and save those He loves. And the love of the Lord for His people is incessant, comparable to the tenderness of a father for his children, of the bridegroom for his bride.




Read more:
Pope: Yes, Jesus is merciful, but He is also just

The Holy Father said that the same invitation is made to us, to the Church. We are invited, “Rejoice, small Christian community, poor and humble but beautiful in my eyes because you ardently desire my Kingdom, you are hungry and thirsty for justice; patiently weave the fabric of peace; do not pursue those who may be powerful now, but stay faithfully beside the poor. And in this way you will not be afraid of anything, but your heart will be in joy.”

Living like this, in God’s presence, brings a “high level” joy, Francis said.

Today, too, St. Paul urges us not to worry, not to despair at all, but in all circumstances to present to God our requests, our needs, our concerns “with prayers and petitions.” The awareness that in difficulties we can always turn to the Lord, and that He never rejects our invocations, is a great reason for joy. No worry, no fear will ever take away the serenity that comes not from human things, from human consolations, no, the serenity that comes from God, from knowing that God lovingly guides our lives, and always does. Even in the midst of problems and sufferings, this certainty nourishes hope and courage.

Yet, to become these joy- and peace-filled people, the pope said, there is a lesson to draw from those who went to John the Baptist. His hearers all questioned him, “What should we do, then?”

This question is the first step for the conversion that we are invited to perform in this time of Advent. Each one of us should ask himself: What must I do? A very small thing, but “what must I do?” And may the Virgin Mary, who is our mother, help us to open our heart to God-Who-comes, so that He might inundate all our life with joy.


WOMAN,CHURCH,JOY

Read more:
Repentance and joy: Friends, not enemies


POPE FRANCIS GENERAL AUDIENCE

Read more:
Joy isn’t living from laugh to laugh, says Francis. Here’s what it really is

Tags:
AdventPope Francis
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Andrea Bocelli
J-P Mauro
Andrea Bocelli to perform live Christmas conc...
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to t...
FATHER JOHN FIELDS
John Burger
Priest who volunteered for COVID-19 vaccine t...
John Paul II
Philip Kosloski
St. John Paul II's guide to a fruitful Advent
ADVENT
Philip Kosloski
Prayer to be watchful during Advent
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.