Pope: John the Baptist points us to conversion, to change direction and way of thinking
At the Angelus, Pope Francis speaks of the desire to free oneself from sin: rejecting "the worldly mentality, excessive esteem for comforts, for pleasure, for well-being, for wealth "; renouncing the "superfluous and seeking the essential", like the Precursor. “Conversion is a grace, therefore, to be asked of God with strength”. "The Christmas tree and the crib ... signs of hope, especially in this difficult time". "There is no pandemic that can extinguish" the light that God has ignited in the world.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Changing direction ... and therefore also changing one’s way of thinking" is the meaning of the word conversion, which John the Baptist indicated to his contemporaries and which is "a journey of faith similar to that which 'Advent proposes to us ”. Thus Pope Francis introduced his reflections on today's Gospel (2nd Sunday of Advent B, Mark 1: 1-8), in front of a group of "courageous" pilgrims who braved the rain to pray the Angelus with the pontiff in St. Peter's Square.
“Conversion - he continued - involves suffering for the sins committed, the desire to free yourself from them, the intention to exclude them from your life forever. To exclude sin it is also necessary to reject everything that is linked to it: the worldly mentality, excessive esteem for comforts, for pleasure, for well-being, for wealth. The example of this once again comes to us from today's Gospel in the figure of John the Baptist: an austere man who renounces excess and seeks the essential. This is the first aspect of conversion: detachment from sin and worldliness.”
"The other aspect of conversion is the search for God and his Kingdom. The abandonment of comforts and the worldly mentality is not an end in itself, but is aimed at obtaining something greater, namely, the Kingdom of God, communion with God, friendship with God. But this is not easy, because there are many ties that hold us close to sin: inconstancy, discouragement, unwholesome environments, bad examples. At times the push we feel toward the Lord is too weak and it almost seems that God is silent; his promises of consolation seem far and unreal to us, like the image of the caring and attentive shepherd,”.
He concluded “May Mary Most Holy, whom we will celebrate the day after tomorrow as the Immaculate, help us to separate ourselves more and more from sin and worldliness, in order to open ourselves to God, to His Word, to his love which restores and saves.”
After the Marian prayer, Francis, pointing out that the Christmas tree and the crib are being set up in the square, said that perhaps even in many families these "signs of hope are being prepared, especially in this difficult time".
"Let's make sure - he added - not to stop at the sign, but to go to Jesus, to what He has revealed to us ... There is no pandemic that can extinguish this light, so God will be born again in us and among us".