Pope Francis: Be surprised by God’s mercy this Advent

 

Pope Francis gives his Angelus message for the Third Sunday of Advent on Dec. 11, 2022. / Vatican Media. See CNA article for full slideshow. 

Vatican City, Dec 11, 2022 / 05:05 am (CNA).

The season of Advent is a time to let ourselves be surprised by God’s mercy and compassion, Pope Francis said on Gaudete Sunday.

“Advent, then, is a time for overturning our perspectives … for letting ourselves be surprised by the greatness of God’s mercy,” the pope said Dec. 11.

Advent is, he continued, “a time in which, preparing the nativity display for the Infant Jesus, we learn again who our Lord is, who he is; [it is] a time to leave behind certain mindsets and prejudices about God and our brothers and sisters; a time in which, instead of thinking about gifts for ourselves, we can give words and gestures of consolation to those who are wounded, as Jesus did with the blind, the deaf and the lame.”

Pope Francis delivered his message for the Third Sunday of Advent from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

People brought their Baby Jesus figurines for Pope Francis to bless during his Angelus for the Third Sunday of Advent in St. Peter's Square Dec. 11, 2022. Vatican Media.
People brought their Baby Jesus figurines for Pope Francis to bless during his Angelus for the Third Sunday of Advent in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 11, 2022. Vatican Media.

The Sunday, which marks roughly halfway through the season preceding Christmas, is also known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is the Latin word for “rejoice.”

After giving his short reflection and praying the Angelus, a traditional Marian prayer, Pope Francis blessed figurines of the Child Jesus which people had brought to the Vatican from their nativity scenes at home.

The pope blesses the “bambinelli” — as they are called in Italian — every year on Gaudete Sunday.

“And now I bless the ‘bambinelli,’ that is, the little statues of Baby Jesus that you dear children and young people have brought here and will then carry home and put in the nativity,” Francis said.

“I invite you,” he continued, “to pray before the nativity scene that the birth of Jesus will bring a ray of peace to the children of the whole world, especially those forced to live the terrible and dark days of war, this war in Ukraine that destroys many lives, many lives of many children.”

Pope Francis gives his Angelus message for the Third Sunday of Advent on Dec. 11, 2022. Vatican Media.
Pope Francis gives his Angelus message for the Third Sunday of Advent on Dec. 11, 2022. Vatican Media.

In his message, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Advent, which recalls when John the Baptist was in prison, and heard about the good works Jesus Christ was performing.

St. John the Baptist “imagined a stern Messiah who would come and do justice with power by chastising sinners,” the pope explained. “Now, on the contrary, Jesus has words and gestures of compassion towards all.”

Wracked with doubt, John sent his followers to ask Jesus if he really was the Messiah, or if he was just another prophet.

It could surprise us to know that the man who baptized Jesus and called him the Lamb of God experienced this uncertainty, Francis said, noting that “even the greatest believer goes through the tunnel of doubt.”

“And this is not a bad thing; on the contrary, sometimes it is essential for spiritual growth: it helps us understand that God is always greater than we imagine him to be,” he said.

Jesus’ “works are surprising compared to our calculations; his actions are always different, they exceed our needs and expectations; and therefore we must never stop seeking him and converting to his true face.”

People brought their Baby Jesus figurines for Pope Francis to bless during his Angelus for the Third Sunday of Advent in St. Peter's Square Dec. 11, 2022. Vatican Media.
People brought their Baby Jesus figurines for Pope Francis to bless during his Angelus for the Third Sunday of Advent in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 11, 2022. Vatican Media.

The pope pointed to a quote from the French theologian Henri de Lubac, who said God “needs to be rediscovered in stages … sometimes believing that we are losing him.”

This is what John the Baptist did, Pope Francis said: “In doubt, he still seeks him, questions him, ‘argues’ with him and finally rediscovers him.”

“We too at times find ourselves in his situation, in an inner jail, unable to recognize the newness of the Lord, whom we perhaps hold captive in the presumption that we already know everything about him,” he said. “Brothers and sisters, we never know everything about him.”

“May Our Lady take us by the hand, like mom, in these days of preparation for Christmas, and help us recognize in the smallness of the infant, the greatness of God who is coming.”


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2 Comments

  1. Right in the middle of Jesus’, 44 plus times where He sternly warns of eternal damnation for the unrepentant wicked, Jesus gives us His Divine Mercy through His Sacrament of Reconciliation, for those who come to a change of heart. To love God is to obey God. To sin is to hate God. To repent from wickedness, and come to Jesus for His Divine Mercy through His Sacrament of Reconciliation, is to rise back to spiritual life through one’s love for God repentance and Jesus’ Divine Mercy.

    I too am delightfully surprised at the long lines for Jesus’ Divine Mercy through His Sacrament of Reconciliation; And the great number of people returning to Mass, at our parish!

    John 14:15
    If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

    John 15:22
    “If I had not come to them and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; now, however, their sin cannot be excused. To hate me is to hate my Father.

    John 5:27
    “The Father has given over to him power to pass judgment because he is Son of Man; no need for you to be surprised at this, for an hour is coming in which all those in their tombs shall hear his voice and come forth. Those who have done right shall rise to live; the evildoers shall rise to be damned.”

    Matthew 11:20 Reproaches to Unrepentant Towns.
    Then he began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’ For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

    Divine Mercy in My Soul, 965
    Jesus looked at me and said, Souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion. I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity. Secretary of My mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near.

    Divine Mercy in My Soul, 1448
    Tell souls where they are to look for solace; that is, in the Tribunal of Mercy (the Sacrament of Reconciliation). There the greatest miracles take place (and) incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage or to carry out some external ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative and to reveal to him one’s misery, and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully demonstrated. Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no (hope of) restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God’s mercy! You will call out in vain, but it will be too late.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Power of the Keys

    981 After his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles “so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.” The apostles and their successors carry out this “ministry of reconciliation,” not only by announcing to men God’s forgiveness merited for us by Christ, and calling them to conversion and faith; but also by communicating to them the forgiveness of sins in Baptism, and reconciling them with God and with the Church through the power of the keys, received from Christ:

    [The Church] has received the keys to the Kingdom of heaven so that, in her, sins may be forgiven through Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit’s action. In this Church, the soul dead through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us.

    https://www.usccb.org/sites/default/files/flipbooks/catechism/258

    Matthew 16:13
    Jesus replied, “Blest are you, Simon son of John! No mere man has revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. I for my part declare to you, you are ‘Rock,’ and on this rock I will build my church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it. I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    John 20:20
    At the sight of the Lord the disciples rejoiced. “Peace be with you,” he said again. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Then he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.”

    Catechism of the Catholic Church: Reconciliation with the Church

    1445 The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his, Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God.

    https://www.usccb.org/sites/default/files/flipbooks/catechism/364/

    Revelation 22:12
    “Remember, I am coming soon! I bring with me the reward that will be given to each man as his conduct deserves. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End! Happy are they who wash their robes so as to have free access to the tree of life and enter the city through its gates Outside are the dogs and sorcerers, the fornicators and murderers, the idol-worshipers and all who love falsehood.”

4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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