A Word from Pope Francis
On the First Sunday of Advent, we begin a new liturgical year; that is, a new journey of the People of God with Jesus Christ, our Shepherd, who guides us through history toward the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, this day has a special charm, it makes us experience deeply the meaning of history. We rediscover the beauty of all being on a journey: the Church, with her vocation and mission, and all humanity, peoples, civilizations, cultures, all on a journey across the paths of time.
Revelation found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, and he, the Word made flesh, became the “Temple of the Lord”: he is both guide and goal of our pilgrimage, of the pilgrimage of the entire People of God; and in his light the other peoples may also walk toward the Kingdom of justice, toward the Kingdom of peace.
Allow me to repeat what the Prophet says; listen carefully: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” But when will this occur? What a beautiful day it shall be, when weapons are dismantled in order to be transformed into tools for work! What a beautiful day that shall be! And this is possible! Let us bet on hope, on the hope for peace, and it will be possible!
Taking the Word to Heart
The prophet Isaiah wrote at a time when violence and war were the order of the day. The people of Israel had been conquered by the Assyrians and would later be taken into exile. And yet Isaiah could speak of a hope rooted in the Lord’s call for justice and for peace. Our own world is becoming increasingly violent. We might think that Isaiah’s vision is farther away than ever before. The Internet brings violence from the far corners of the world into our homes, but we also know that there is violence in our cities, our neighborhoods, and even at times in our own homes. But we also hear of hopeful and heroic actions, often by a few individuals standing in the face of darkness and offering what light they have.
The journey through Advent brings us to the Christmas celebration of God’s intimate presence in human existence. What we discover is that in our waiting for Christmas, God is with us all the way along the journey. In ancient times, people traveled together for safety and support. Often they needed to set aside differences and overcome a fear of unknown traveling companions because the world outside their caravans held too many threats to travel alone. We too find that the more we try to set ourselves apart from others, the more we are threatened by a world “out there.”
Bringing the Word to Life
Isaiah’s words about swords and plowshares naturally bring to mind war, weapons, and global strife. We might think there’s nothing we can do about such sweeping issues. But think about the ways in which you use words as weapons every day. How might you transform them to words of tolerance, compassion, and love? If we are to be a sign of God to all peoples, how can we behave toward people of other races, religions, or lifestyles in such a way that they will be attracted to the word of life that motivates us?
Pope Francis Prays
Let us prepare for Christmas, considering that Jesus is coming.
I hope that Jesus comes into the heart of each one of you, blesses you and gives you strength to go forward.
Pray for me! Thank you!