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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis explains Christmas in General Audience

(VIDEO ONLY) With his eyes set on Christmas, Pope Francis has reflected about the meaning of this time of year: "The Lord is near,â? and he brings "freedom from exile and the promise of renewal and redemption for the faithful.â? He said that, "strengthened by this promise, we can face difficulties, confident that God's reign has begun.â?     SUMMARY OF THE POPE'S CATECHESIS:   "Dear Brothers and Sisters:   The words we have heard this morning from the prophet Isaiah help us prepare for the coming feast of Christmas. The prophet calls Godâ??s people to rejoice, for the Lord is near, bringing freedom from exile and the promise of renewal and redemption for the faithful "remnantâ? who continued to hope in his word.     "How beautiful on the mountainsâ?, he says, "are the feet of the messengerâ? who brings glad tidings of peace and salvation, proclaiming: "Your God reignsâ? (Is 52:7). This great prophecy was fulfilled in the kingdom brought by Jesus, that kingdom whose dawning we celebrate at Christmas.     Strengthened by this promise, we can face difficulties in the confident knowledge that Godâ??s reign has begun, and that we ourselves are called to be its joyful heralds in a world that yearns for justice, truth and peace. This Christmas, may we open our hearts to the message of salvation brought by the Christ Child, the Son of God who shows his great power by embracing smallness, weakness and poverty, in order to draw near to each of us.   RB CTV - -PR Up:JD