From the window of the Vatican Palace, Pope Benedict XVI delivered his pre-Angelus address to the pilgrims and faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square on the second Sunday of Advent. His message encouraged them to follow the word of God, which St. Ambrose said "will produce its fruits for us."
The Pontiff began his pre-Angelus address by speaking of Luke's Gospel (Lk 3, 1-6) referring to John the Baptist, who at the time is preparing "the scene on which Jesus is about to appear and begin his public mission."
Pope Benedict noted the "abundant references" of St. Luke to political and religious figures of the time, the years 27 or 28 A.D.
"After this broad historical introduction," he added, "the subject becomes 'the word of God', presented as a force that comes down from on high and descends upon John the Baptist."
"Thus," said the Pontiff, using the words of St. Ambrose, "St. Luke says that the word of God came down on John... so that the Church gets its start not from men, but from the Word."
"That, then, is the meaning: the Word of God is the subject that moves history, inspires the prophets, prepares the way of the Messiah, calls together the Church."
"Jesus himself is the divine Word made flesh in the virgin womb of Mary; in Him God revealed himself fully, he has said to us and given us everything, thus opening for us the treasures of his truth and of his mercy."
The Holy Father again cited St. Ambrose, whose feast day is tomorrow: "Then the Word descended, down to the earth, which before was a desert, so that it would produce its fruits for us."
"Dear friends," concluded Benedict XVI, "the most beautiful flower germinated from the word of God is the Virgin Mary. She is the gem of the Church, garden of God on earth. But, while Mary is the Immaculate One... the Church is always in a fight between the desert and the garden, between the sin that dries the earth and the grace that irrigates it so that it might produce abundant fruits of saintliness."
"We pray then that the Mother of the Lord will help us, in this time of Advent, to ‘straighten out’ our lives, that we let ourselves be guided by the word of God," his pre-Angelus address concluded.