“Today, the eighth day after Christmas, we celebrate the Holy Mother of God,” Pope Francis proclaimed on January 1, 2019. “As the shepherds of Bethlehem, we remain with our gaze fixed on Her and on the Child she has in her arms.”
His reflection came before praying the noonday Angelus on the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with a crowd estimated at 40,000 in St. Peter’s Square.
He explained that Mary shows Jesus to the world and blessed the path of everyone as the new year begins. Each person, he continued, will experience a good “in the measure in which each one will have received God’s goodness, which Jesus came to bring to the world.
“In fact, it’s God’s blessing that gives substance to all the good wishes that are exchanged in these days. And today the liturgy refers to the very ancient blessing with which the Jewish priests blessed the people. It states: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace’ (Numbers 6:24-26).”
Although a man cannot look at the face of God and live, Francis reminded the crowd, God “radiates His grace on every creature, especially on men and women, in whom in the main He is reflected.” And in viewing the icon of Mary we are shown Jesus.
Pope Francis also recalled that the first of January also is World Day of Peace, first proclaimed by Pope Paul VI. This year’s theme is “Good Politics Is at the Service of Peace.”
“We must not think that politics is reserved only to rulers: we are all responsible for the life of the “city,” of the common good; and politics is also good in the measure in which each one does his part at the service of peace,” the Holy Father said. “May the Holy Mother of God help us in this daily commitment.”