· At the Angelus the Pope invites the faithful to rejoice because Christmas is near ·
The Church is not “a place for sad people” but “a joyful home”. And “those who are sad find joy in her”. The Pope said this to the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square on Sunday 15 December.
On this third Sunday of Advent, traditionally called Gaudete Sunday, the Pope again invited all to the celebration that resonates in the Liturgy: “The Lord is near. Christmas is near”, he recalled, noting that the joy of the Gospel message “is not just any joy” but “consists in knowing how to be welcomed and loved by God”. Our God “always shows the greatness of his mercy” and gives man “the strength to go on”, even in the face of difficulties and weaknesses.
With his help, therefore, everyone can “begin again from scratch” experiencing always the grace of forgiveness. The Pope then invited us to be “able to open our eyes again, to overcome sadness and mourning to strike up a new song”. Because this joy remains “even amid suffering”: it is not “a superficial joy”, he explained, “it arises in the depths of the person who entrusts himself to the Lord and confides in him”.
Beneath this attitude is a “loyalty to God”, and a “certainty that he always keeps his promises”. It is no coincidence, the Pope said, that “those who have encountered Jesus along the way, experience a serenity and joy in their hearts which nothing and no one can take away”. This confirms that “our joy is Jesus Christ, His faithful love is inexhaustible!” Therefore, “when a Christian becomes sad it means that he has distanced himself from Jesus. But then we must not leave him alone”, but “pray for him” and “make him feel the warmth of the community”.
At the end of the Angelus, the Pope blessed the Baby Jesus figurines that the children had brought to the Square. This initiative was organized by the Centre of Roman Oratories.