Four weeks before the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, the beginning of the liturgical season of Advent should be for Christians a time to ask ourselves where, how and when we seek and encounter the Lord. This was the line of the Pope's words to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square after the Angelus prayer.
The Pope stressed that "the Lord comes, God always comes" and encouraged us to be attentive so that "distracted as we are by so many things, this truth remains only in theory; or we imagine that the Lord comes in a striking way, perhaps through some prodigious sign". In fact, he stressed that "God hides himself in the most common and ordinary situations of our lives. He does not come in extraordinary events, but in everyday things. And there, in our daily work, in a chance encounter, in the face of a person in need, even when we face days that seem gray and monotonous, the Lord is right there.
Francis warned against the "danger of not being aware of his coming and not being prepared for his visit" and referred to the Gospel proper to this first Sunday of Advent in which "Jesus says that when he comes, 'there will be two men in the camp: one will be taken and the other left' (v. 40). What is the difference? Simply that one was vigilant, able to discern God's presence in daily life; the other, on the other hand, was distracted, 'set apart,' and was not aware of anything."
The Pope concluded his remarks by encouraging those present to shake off "lethargy" and to ask themselves sincerely if they are "trying to recognize the presence of God in everyday situations, or am I distracted and a little overwhelmed by things". The Pontiff also encouraged them to turn their gaze to the "Holy Virgin, Woman of expectation, who knew how to grasp God's presence in the humble and hidden life of Nazareth and welcomed him into her womb".