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Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., preaching the Third Advent Sermon for 2018. Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., preaching the Third Advent Sermon for 2018.  (Vatican Media)

Third Advent Sermon: Jesus Christ is the living God

In his third sermon for Advent, the Preacher to the Pontifical Household, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., focused on the figure of Jesus Christ, who “is not only the revealer of the living God,” but is Himself “the living God.”

By Vatican News

Jesus Christ is the definitive place of the encounter between God and man. The third Advent sermon for the Pontifical Household, preached in the presence of the Holy Father, revolved around the idea of this “bridge,” which unites the eternity of the Father with our existence in time. “Jesus Christ,” said Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, “is the living God.” Christ gave His life as “a ransom,” and for love of all human beings, without distinction.

God welcomes the just

“More than the salvation of those who have not known Christ,” Fr Cantalamessa said, “we need to be concerned, I believe, about the salvation of those who have known him but live as though he never existed, completely forgetting their baptism and estranged from the Church and every religious practice.” With regard to the former, he said, “Scripture assures us that ‘God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him’.”

The humility of God

Father Cantalamessa insisted that God’s “offer of salvation is universal”: God desires the salvation of all human persons, not only those who know that He is their Saviour. “God is humble in creating,” he said. “He does not put His label on everything, the way people do. It is not written within creatures that they are made by God; that is left for them to discover.”

In the Holy Spirit, Jesus reveals the Father

“The Holy Spirit is the true ‘living environment’ … in which every authentic Christian theology is born and developed,” the Papal preacher said. “Jesus is still the one who continues to reveal the Father in the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit is now the Spirit of the Risen One, the Spirit who continues and carries out the work of the earthly Jesus.” Unlike the idols of pagan religions, the living God, said Fr Cantalamessa, “is a ‘God Who breathes’, and the Holy Spirit is His breath.” And, he affirmed, this is true also of Christ: “The Holy Spirit is ‘the breath of the Risen One’ in history.”

God is real

The Spirit of the living God, said Fr Cantalamessa, “creates in the depths of a person that state of grace through which one experiences a great ‘illumination’ one day and discovers that God exists, that He is real.” Those who seek God elsewhere, “only in the pages of books, or through human reasoning,” need to hear the words of the angel to the woman at the empty tomb: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

“And the Word was made flesh”

Father Cantalamessa ended his sermon by calling to mind the Prologue of the Gospel of St John. “A meditation on the role of Christ as the unique revealer of the Living God cannot conclude in a worthier manner” than with that Gospel passage – considered not as a reading to be commented upon, but as “a hymn of praise that now springs up in our hearts to the glory of the most Holy Trinity”: “In the beginning was the Word… and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us…”

Read the full text of Father Raniero Cantalamessa’s Third Advent Sermon for 2018 at his website.

21 December 2018, 16:24