Pope Francis on Wednesday urged the faithful to open their hearts to the Good News of the Saviour’s birth. The Pope was addressing the pilgrims gathered in the Vatican Paul VI Hall for the weekly General Audience.
His catechesis on Christian hope focused on these last days of Advent and on how we prepare to receive the message embodied in the nativity. Reflecting on the fact that a catechesis focusing on Christian hope is more than appropriate during the time of Advent, Pope Francis recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah, “the Lord himself will give you a sign: the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel” and also “a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.”
He said that the sense of Christmas transpires in both of these verses: “God fulfills his promise by coming in the flesh, (…) and He gives his people a new hope for humanity: eternal life”. The Pope said this hope is realistic and reliable, it is a hope that redeems and saves, for Christ, by coming in the flesh, has opened the way for us to ascend to the Father.
He also said it is especially visible in these days preceding Christmas. “When we prepare the Christmas crib in our homes and churches, he said, let us be attentive to the message of hope it embodies”. And with our gaze on the nativity scene that takes us to the little town of Bethlehem, the Pope said we can see revealed God’s love for each of us, however small or lowly. We see it in Mary, who trusted in God’s word: “She is the Mother of Hope”.
Next to Mary is Joseph. He too, the Pope said, is the man of hope, who gave Jesus his name, which means “God saves”. In the crib, he continued, we see the joy of the shepherds who represent the humble and the poor who were awaiting the Messiah. They were the ones, he said, to receive with joy the peace proclaimed by the angels.
“Dear brothers and sisters: every time we say ‘yes’ to Jesus a bud blossoms into hope. May we trust in this bud of hope” and open our hearts to the Good News of the birth of Jesus who came to save us”.