12/01/2019, 13.11
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Pope to sign document on the meaning and value of the manger this afternoon in Greccio

Francis expressed his "concern" for the situation in Iraq. "I learnt with sorrow,” he explained, “that the protests in recent days were met with a harsh reaction, which has caused dozens of victims.” Today, he noted, “the first Sunday of Advent, a new liturgical year begins. In the four weeks of Advent, the liturgy prepares us to celebrate the Christmas of Jesus, as it reminds us that He comes every day into our lives, and will return gloriously at the end of time. Such certainty leads us to look to the future with confidence.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis will sign an Apostolic Letter on the meaning and value of the Manger this afternoon in Greccio. The pontiff made the announcement himself after reciting the Angelus.

"The manger,” he said, “is a simple and wonderful sign of the Christian faith. It is a short letter, which can do good to prepare for Christmas,” he told the 30,000 people present in St Peter's Square for the Marian prayer.

Francis also expressed his "concern" for the situation in Iraq. “I learnt with sorrow,” he noted, “that the protests in recent days were met with a harsh reaction, which has caused dozens of victims. I pray for the dead and the wounded; I am close to their families and to the entire Iraqi people, invoking peace and concord from God.”

Before the Angelus, Francis said that today, “the first Sunday of Advent, a new liturgical year begins. In the four weeks of Advent, the liturgy prepares us to celebrate the Christmas of Jesus, as it reminds us that He comes every day into our lives, and will return gloriously at the end of time. Such certainty leads us to look to the future with confidence.”

"Those who are hungry and thirsty for justice can only find it by following the ways of the Lord; whereas evil and sin come from the fact that individuals and social groups prefer to follow paths dictated by selfish interests, which cause conflicts and wars. By contrast, if everyone were to seek, through the Lord's guidance, the path of goodness, then there would be more harmony and concord in the world”

"In today's Gospel, Jesus urges us to be ready for his coming, [saying]: ‘Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come’ (Mt 24:42). Staying awake does not [just] mean keeping your eyes physically open, but having a free heart and facing in the right direction, that is, willing to give and serve.

“The sleep from which we must awaken is constituted by indifference, vanity, the inability to establish genuine human relationships, taking charge of the lonely, abandoned or sick fellow human. Waiting for the coming Jesus must therefore be translated into a commitment to watchfulness. It is above all a question of marvelling at God’s action, his surprises, and giving Him primacy. Concretely, watchfulness also means to be attentive to our neighbours in difficulty, to be challenged by their needs, without waiting for them to ask us for help; [it means] to learn to prevent, to anticipate, as God always does with us.”

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