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CATHOLICS URGED TO RETRACE THEIR STEPS FROM SIN AND RETURN TO GOD
The Holy Father, Pope Francis has called on Catholic faithful to use the season of Advent to retrace their steps from sin and respond positively to beckon of God to come to Him. The Holy Father made the call in his homily in his Angelus address at this year’s celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
According to the pope: “God is waiting for your “yes,” and giving “half-yeses” to Him can eventually lead to the “no” of sin, making us “old inside.” The pope’ reflection was premised on the two readings from the day’s liturgy: The Fall of Adam and Eve (Gn 3:9-15, 20), and the Annunciation (Lk 1:26-38).
The Holy Father declared: “The readings of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary are two crucial passages in the history of the relationship between man and God,” he said. “We might say they lead us to the origins of good and evil.”
The Genesis account shows us the origins of sin, the first ‘no’ to God, when “man preferred to look at himself, not his Creator. In doing so, the pope said, man left “his communion with God, he lost himself and he began to experience fear and to hide himself and accuse the one beside him” (cf. Gen. 3:10,12
These are the symptoms: fear, is always a symptom of a ‘no’ to God. It indicates that I am saying ‘no’ to God. Accusing others and no looking at oneself indicates that I am distancing myself from God.
“This makes sin,” Pope Francis said. “But the Lord does not leave man at the mercy of his evil. He immediately seeks him out and asks a question full of apprehension: ‘Where are you?’ (v. 9), as if to say: ‘Stop, think: where are you?’”
Speaking on the Gospel reading, Pope Francis stated that when “God comes to dwell among us, [and] he becomes man like us.”“And this was made possible by ‘a great yes’ … that of Mary at the Annunciation.”
He continued: “Through this ‘yes’ Jesus began his journey along the roads of humanity; He began this in Mary, spending the first months of his life within his mother’s womb. He did not appear as an adult and strong, but followed the whole path of what it means to be human.”
The Holy Father further stated that Christ made himself equal to us except in one thing — the ‘no’ — except in sin.” Therefore, Pope Francis continued, “he chose Mary, the only sinless, immaculate creature.
The pope noted how, in the Gospel, Mary is described as “full of grace” (Lk 1:28), that is, “filled with grace.” This means, he said, that from the first moment of her conception, there was in her “no room for sin… she is without a shadow of evil.” Mary’s ‘yes’ is therefore complete and unconditional, without any reservations, Pope Francis explained.
“Mary responds to God’s proposal saying: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord’ (v. 38). She doesn’t say: ‘But, this time I will do the will of God, I’ll make myself available, then we’ll see…’. No, hers is a full, total, unconditional ‘yes’ for her entire life. And as the ‘no’ in the beginning had close man’s way to God, so Mary’s ‘yes’ opened the path to God among us. It is the most important ‘yes’ in history, the humble ‘yes’ that reverses the prideful ‘no’ in the beginning; the faithful ‘yes’ that heals disobedience, the ready ‘yes’ that overturns the egoism of sin.”
Pope Francis then went on to say that, also for each of us, there is a story of salvation made of our ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to God. “Sometimes, though, we are experts at the ‘half-yes’,” He added that in doing this, we close the door to good, and evil takes advantage of these missing ‘yeses’.
the Pope said. “Each of us has a collection of them inside,” he quipped. “Let’s think about it, and we will find many missing ‘yeses’.”
Pope Francis told the pilgrims that in this Season of Advent, God wants to visit us and is waiting for our ‘yes.’
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