By Devin Watkins
At the beginning of the new liturgical year, the Pope took a moment ahead of the traditional Marian prayer to comment on how the Advent season reminds us that Jesus constantly enters our lives.
He said the certainty that Jesus will return at the end of time urges us to look to the future with confidence and hope.
Drawn to the mountain
Turning to the First Reading, the Pope said the prophet Isaiah paints a picture of the mountain of the Lord’s house to which all nations shall be drawn.
After the Incarnation of the Son of God, said Pope Francis, Jesus revealed Himself as the true temple atop that mountain.
“The marvelous vision of Isaiah is a divine promise,” he said, “and impels us to assume an attitude of pilgrimage, of journeying towards Christ, who is the meaning and goal of history.”
Advent, said Pope Francis, “ is the time to welcome Jesus’ coming, as He comes as a messenger of peace to show us the ways of God.”
In the day’s Gospel reading, Jesus urges us to “stay awake” for His coming.
The image of staying awake does not mean keeping one’s eyes literally open at all times, said Pope Francis, but means having one’s heart “free and oriented in the right direction” by offering ourselves for the benefit of others in service.
“The sleep from which we must awake is created by indifference, by vanity, and by the inability to establish genuinely human relationships and to take care of our brothers and sisters who find themselves alone, abandoned, or ill.”
Paying attention to those in need
The Pope said our expectant waiting for Jesus requires vigilance in the form of “marveling at God’s action and at His surprises.”
Vigilance, he continued, means “paying attention to our neighbor in difficulty and allowing their need to draw us in, without waiting for him or her to ask us for help.”
Finally, Pope Francis asked the Virgin Mary for her guidance along the Advent journey.
“May Mary, the vigilant Virgin and Mother of hope,” he said, help us “to turn our gaze towards the ‘mountain of the Lord’, the image of Jesus Christ, who draws all people to Himself.”