Shortly after returning from the dedication of a new Roman parish, Pope Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study Sunday to pray the Angelus with the thousands of pilgrims gathered below in St. Peter's Square. The Holy Father encouraged the pilgrims to consider how the season of Advent reminds the Church of its mission to continue building the house of God among mankind.
The Pope recalled how his inauguration of the new church of the Roman parish of St. Mary Star of Evangelization, was an event that "assumes symbolic significance within the liturgical period of Advent as we prepare to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord. In these days the liturgy constantly reminds us that 'God is coming' to visit His people."
"The church-building is a concrete sign of the Church-community, made up of the 'living stones' that are the believers," said the Pope.
The Holy Father pointed out how the two princes of Rome, St. Peter and St. Paul highlighted in their writings that Christ is the ‘cornerstone’ of the spiritual temple, which is the Church. United to Christ, the Pope said, “we too are called to participate in the construction of this living temple. If, then, it is true that it is God who takes the initiative to come and live among men, and that He is the principal architect of this project, it is also true that He does not want to accomplish it without our active collaboration.”
“Therefore, preparing for Christmas means commitment to building the 'house of God with men.' ... At the end of time it will be complete, and it will be the 'heavenly Jerusalem,'" the Pope pointed out.
"Advent invites us to turn our gaze towards the 'heavenly Jerusalem,' which is the final goal of our earthly pilgrimage. At the same time, it exhorts us to commit ourselves with prayer, conversion and good works, to welcoming Jesus into our lives, to constructing together with him that spiritual building in which each of us - our families and our communities - is a precious stone," he concluded.