Today the Church invites each and every one of us to take willingly and joyfully the path that God has prepared for the whole human race. The Prophet Isaiah speaks of that path as going up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Jacob. A part of this "going up" is man's vocation to seek full and authentic humanity, to refine and develop his spiritual and bodily qualities, while he struggles to bring the world under his control through the advancement of knowledge and through his own labor. This the human family does through cultural advancement.
Men and women today are clearly aware that, more than ever before, they are called to fashion their own destiny in this world. The means to do so are increasingly available: a better understanding of the earth and its secrets; a better understanding of the movement of history and social organization; and the world of communications, which gives more and more people an opportunity to share in modern progress. A more humane world is struggling to be born.
And yet, at every turn the highest hopes are accompanied by disturbing contradictions. As regards respect for fundamental human rights, the last decades have witnessed much progress and a growing awareness of the rightness of this cause. We cannot, however, overlook the fact that our world still offers too many examples of radical injustice and oppression.
Were there exists a great good to be achieved, a great moral maturity and a great sense of justice are also needed. Without a vision of the sublime dignity of the human person—a dignity founded on each one's unique relationship to the Creator and Redeemer, a dignity linked to the transcendent nature, origin and destiny of man—progress lacks a sure direction.
Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, reveals to us the real meaning of history. He reveals God's plan for humanity. Jesus speaks to our freedom and calls us to promote truly human progress when he gives us his law of love and service: The call of Jesus is clear. He says: "Stay awake." And again: "Stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." In this way he urges all his followers to work for the goal that the Father has set: the Kingdom of justice, truth and peace.
This is the Advent, full of expectation, which the Church celebrates at this time. We go forward, as the pilgrim People of God, following Jesus who is the Way to the Father. We go forward in the certainty that his truth will set us free, and our strength comes from his words and his sacrament.