“On this first day of the year, in the joyful atmosphere of Christmas, the Church invites us to fix our gaze of faith and of love on the Mother of Jesus.”
The Pope extended this invitation when speaking to the crowds gathered for the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square on Thursday, on the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God.
“It is impossible,” the Holy Father said, “to separate contemplation of Jesus, the Word of life Who is made visible and tangible, from contemplation of Mary, who has given Him her love and her human flesh.”
The reason for this, he underscored, was that only through Mary, “the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”
The Holy Father expressed that the beginning of a new year is a good time for faithful to remember the day of their baptisms, to “rediscover the gift received in that Sacrament which has regenerated us to new life – the divine life.”
Thanks to baptism, he explained, we were introduced into communion with God and are no longer at the mercy of evil and sin, but [rather] we receive the love, the tenderness, the mercy of the heavenly Father.
Incorporated in Him, men and women really become children of God. This amazing transition takes place in us with Baptism, which grafts us into Christ as living members, and inserts us into the Church, he said.
Reflecting on the liturgy’s words from the Apostle Paul: ‘God sent his Son, born of a woman,’ the Pope said that the “born of a woman” expresses the true humanity of the Son of God, only made possible by Mary’s humility and acceptance of God’s will.
Yet St. Paul also adds “born under the law,” the Pope said, noting how the Apostle emphasizes that Christ “has taken up the human condition, freeing it from the closed, legalistic mentality.”
Francis reminded those gathered how “the law deprived of grace becomes an insupportable yoke, and instead of being good for us it is bad for us.”
“The end for which God sent His Son to earth to become man,” he stressed, was “a finality of liberation; indeed, of regeneration,” so we might receive adoption as sons.
“This closeness of God to our existence gives us true peace,” the Pontiff rejoiced, noting it is appropriate to implore this gift Jan. 1, the World Day of Peace.”
The Pope’s message for this year’s World Day of Peace has the theme: “No longer slaves, but brothers.”
To this end, he stressed the message that involves all of us.
“We are all called to combat every form of slavery and to build fraternity — all of us, each one according to his or her own responsibility.”
Pope Francis prayed that Mary “extend the mantle of your maternal protection over each and every one of us in the New Year: ‘O Holy Mother of God despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin.’”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-new-year-s-day-angelus