During his Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis speaks of John the Baptist: a “leader of his time”, who lived the expectation and the joy of seeing the Messiah arrive without ever drawing attention to him but directing him. towards Christ, the true light.
For those who believe, the Advent season is filled with joyous expectation, “a bit like when we expect a visit from someone we love very much.” Addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis underlined that “this dimension of joy emerges even more” on this day, the third Sunday of Advent, which opens with the exhortation of St. Paul: “Rejoice in the Lord always”. The Pope explained that this excitement is caused by our closeness to the Lord. “The closer the Lord is to us, the more joy we feel; the further it is, the more sadness we feel, ”he said.
Turning to today’s Gospel, Pope Francis noted that the evangelist presents John the Baptist “in a solemn manner”. He is the first witness of Jesus, excluding Mary and Joseph, said the Pope. He noted that John was a leader in his day but that “he did not submit even for a moment to the temptation to draw attention to himself: he always oriented himself towards the One who was to come”.
Pope Francis added that this is the “first condition of Christian joy”: to decentralize oneself and place Jesus at the center. “It is not alienation” he explained, because Jesus East effectively the center; He is the light this gives full meaning to the life of every man and woman who comes into the world, said the Pope.
The Pope noted that “John the Baptist undertook a long journey to come and bear witness to Jesus”. The journey of joy is not a walk in the park, continued the Pope. “John left everything in his youth to put God in the first place, to listen to his Word with all his heart and with all his strength. He retired into the desert, stripping himself of all that was superfluous, to be freer to follow the wind of the Holy Spirit, ”said the Pope.
A model for those called to proclaim Christ
Of course, Pope Francis said, some of John the Baptist’s personality traits are unique; “They cannot be recommended for everyone”. But his testimony is paradigmatic for anyone who wishes to seek the meaning of his life and find true joy. ” In particular, the Baptist is a model for those in the Church who are called to proclaim Christ to others: they can only do so by detaching themselves from themselves and from worldliness, by not attracting not people towards them but directing them towards Jesus ”, added the Pope.
Finally, Pope Francis invited the faithful to join him in praying the prayer of the Angelus, in order to see “all this fully realized in the Virgin Mary” who “silently awaited the Word of salvation from God; she welcomed her; she listened to her; she designed it. In her, God has become To close. This is why the Church calls Mary ‘Cause of our joy ‘”.