Vatican City, 10 December, 2023 / 8:40 pm (ACI Africa).
Pope Francis highlighted the importance of listening to God by embracing the example of John the Baptist, “the voice of one crying in the desert,” during his Angelus message on the second Sunday of Advent.
While the desert is “an empty place, where you do not communicate,” it was an important backdrop for John’s ministry as it represents a place of encounter where we can authentically “listen to God,” the pope said to the nearly 25,000 faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Dec. 10.
Noting that the image of the barren desert as a place of preaching may “seem like two contradictory images,” they are in fact reconciled through the figure of John the Baptist, as his voice “is linked to the genuineness of his experience and the clarity of his heart.”
The pope also noted that the desert is a “place of silence and essentials, where someone cannot afford to dwell on useless things but needs to concentrate on what is indispensable in order to live.”
The desert does not hold a central place in the biblical context, he said, but it is an allegory for us today as a place of contemplation and encounter with God and provides an example for living a good life.