In a homily on 1 December in the Vatican, he said:
“We Christians are called to safeguard and spread the joy of waiting: we await God who loves us infinitely and at the same time we are awaited by Him. In this way, life becomes a great betrothal.”
“Tonight,” Pope Francis said, “begins a time of consolation and hope, the time of Advent: a new liturgical year begins, which brings with it the novelty of our God, who is the ‘God of all consolation.’”
On 3 December, the Pope expanded on the concept of preparing for Christmas, by reflecting on that Sunday’s Gospel of Mark.
“Advent is a time given to us to welcome the Lord who comes to meet us, to verify our desire for God, to look ahead and prepare ourselves for the return of Christ.” he said
“Christ will return again at Christmas, when we remember how he came to us in the humility of the human condition. However, Christ also comes to each of us every time we are disposed to receive him,” Pope Francis said, and “he will come again at the end of time to judge the living and the dead.”
“Because of this, we must always be watchful and attentive to the Lord with the hope of meeting him.”
More reflections on Advent:
Advent is for waiting. As we tell the story of redemption through the church calendar we begin our telling of the sacred story, not with doing, not with celebrating, but with waiting — waiting for God to act.
Waiting for God to act only seems like waiting for God to act. God is always acting because God is always loving the world and always giving birth to something. Waiting for God to act is actually waiting for your soul to become quiet enough and contemplative enough to discern what God is doing in the obscure and forgotten corners, far from the corridors of power or wherever you think the action is.
God is almost never found in the big and loud. The ways of God are predominantly small and quiet. The ways of God are about as loud as seed falling on the ground or bread rising in an oven. The ways of God are almost never found in the shouts of the crowd; the ways of God are more often found in trickling tears and whispered prayers. We want God to do a big thing, while God is planning to do a small thing. We are impressed by the big and loud. God is not. We are in a hurry. God is not. We want God to act fast, but Godspeed is almost always slow.