by Pope Benedict XVI.
"Proclaim to the peoples: God our Savior is coming!"
With this, the first antiphon of First Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent, the Church begins the season of Advent and the new liturgical year. Thus the liturgy invites the Church to renew her proclamation to all the peoples and sums it up in two words: "God comes." These words, so concise, contain an ever-new evocative power.
Let us pause for a moment to reflect: it is not used in the past tense—God has come—nor in the future—God will come—but in the present: "God comes."
This is a continuous present, that is, an ever-continuous action: it happened, it is happening now, and it will happen again. In whatever moment, "God comes."
…Advent calls believers to become aware of this truth and to act accordingly. It rings out as a salutary appeal in the days, weeks, and months ahead that repeat: Awaken! Remember that God comes. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today, now!
The one true God, "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" is not a God who is there in heaven, unconcerned with us and our history, but he is the-God-who-comes.
He is a Father who never stops thinking of us and, in the extreme, respects our freedom, and desires to meet us and visit us. He wants to come, to dwell among us, to stay with us.
His "coming" is motivated by the desire to free us from evil and death, from all that prevents our true happiness. God comes to save us.
—Excerpted from the homily at First Vespers of the First Sunday in Advent, December 2, 2006.
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