» 12/04/2016, 13.39
Pope: the kingdom of heaven is at hand, "in some way, it is already present" and asks for conversion
“It is to leave the convenient but misleading streets, the idols of this world – success at all costs, power at the expense of the weak, thirst for wealth, pleasure at any price –and open instead the way for the Lord who comes. He does not take away our freedom, but gives us true happiness."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The kingdom of heaven is at hand, "in some way it is already present", but to be part of it we must convert, abandon the "idols" – success at all costs, power at the expense of the weak, thirst for wealth, pleasure at any price – that "are of the devil,” said Pope Francis before the Angelus, dedicated to the season of Advent.
In today's Gospel, he said that the call of John the Baptist can be heard: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mt 3:2). “The central message of every Christian mission is not a work of proselytism as if Christians were fans in search of new supporters for their team, but it is simply a joyful proclamation: the kingdom of God is coming; indeed, it is close, is in our midst."
But when we speak of the kingdom of heaven we immediately think about eternal life. "Of course, this is true, God's kingdom will extend endlessly beyond earthly life, but the good news that Jesus brought us –and John foretold – is that we must not wait for the kingdom of God in the future: it has come, in some ways it is already present, and we can experience right now its spiritual power (. . .) God comes to establish his dominion in our history, in the today of every day, in our lives; and where it is accepted with faith and humility, love, joy and peace arise."
The condition to become part of this kingdom "is to make a change in our life, that is converting every day, one step forward each day. [. . .] It is to leave the convenient but misleading streets, the idols of this world – success at all costs, power at the expense of the weak, thirst for wealth, pleasure at any price –and open instead the way for the Lord who comes.
“He does not take away our freedom, but gives us true happiness. With Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem, God himself came to dwell among us to free us from selfishness, sin, corruption, and those attitudes that are of the devil."
Christmas "is a day of great joy, outwardly too, but it is primarily a religious event that requires spiritual preparation. The Baptist calls for straightening the paths of the Lord. We prepare the way of the Lord and straighten his paths when we examine our conscience, when we vet our attitudes, to chase away the sinful attitudes that I mentioned.”
“May the Virgin Mary help us prepare for the meeting with this always-greater-love, which is the one Jesus brought and, on Christmas Eve, became very, very little, like a seed that fell into the ground. Jesus is this seed: the seed of the Kingdom of God."
After the Marian prayer, the pope reminded everyone of next Thursday, 8 December, the feast day of the Immaculate. "Let us pray together, asking for her maternal intercession for the conversion of hearts and the gift of peace."
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