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READ: Pope Francis Explains Advent in the Most Heartwarming Way

He says the Gospel of Mark reveals an itinerary of faith that is similar to what Advent is all about.

On the second Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel of Mark, saying that it reveals an itinerary of faith that is similar to what Advent is all about: “we prepare ourselves to receive the Lord at Christmas.” 

Speaking during the Angelus, Pope Francis said that the Gospel introduces the figure and work of John the Baptist and tells of how “conversion” puts us on a path of repentance and the quest for God and his Kingdom. (Read: 10 Prayers from the Bible to Inspire Change in Your Life)

In the Bible, the word “conversion” is a means to “change direction and orientation; and thus also to change our way of thinking,” the Pope explained.

“In the moral and spiritual life, to convert means to turn oneself from evil to good, from sin to love of God,” Pope Francis said. This is what John the Baptist is teaching when he “preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” in the desert of Judea.

advent-is-a-journey-of-conversion-pope-francis
St. John the Baptist and the Pharisees, illustration for ‘The Life of Christ’, c.1886-96 (gouache on paperboard) by Tissot, James Jacques Joseph (1836-1902); Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, USA (Photo from Fine Art America)

Sacrament of Baptism

To be baptized is a visible sign of the conversion of those who listened to the saint’s preaching. However, Pope Francis notes that baptism is useless if there was no willingness to repent and change one’s life.

Conversion involves “the desire to free yourself rom them, the intention to exclude them from your life forever,” he said. (Read: A Prayer to St. John the Baptist)

To exclude sin, it is also necessary to reject everything that is linked to it— “the worldly mentality, excessive esteem for comforts, for pleasure, for well-being, for wealth,” the Pope added.

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