The proclamation of John the Baptist to “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” is a joyful one that calls us to conversion, Pope Francis said in his Angelus address on the second Sunday of Advent.
Referring to the Gospel reading for the day from Matthew 3:1-12, the Pope noted that the proclamation of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus, is also repeated several times by Jesus himself throughout the Gospel of Matthew.
“With these same words Jesus will start his mission in Galilee (Mt 4:17); and this will also be an announcement that will bring the disciples on their first missionary experience (Mt 10:7),” he said.
This “joyful proclamation” is central to all Christian mission, the Holy Father said. “When a missionary goes, a Christian goes to proclaim Jesus, he does not go to proselytize, as if it was a fan who seeks for his team more closely. No, (they go) to announce: ‘The kingdom of God is among you!’”
It is so joyful because we do not have to wait for the Kingdom of God sometime in the future – we can experience some of its beauty and joy here on earth, the Pope added.
But the condition to experiencing God’s kingdom – both on earth and in heaven – is conversion. “Be converted every day, one step forward every day,” Francis said.