Christian hope has Christ at the center with the Holy Spirit as a force that moves towards the goal of the Kingdom of God, Pope Francis said in his Angelus address on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God Jan. 1
Addressing a packed St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father said the hope for a New Year full of “peace and every good” is not about “magic and somewhat fatalistic” connotations. Rather it is about Christian hope whose centre is “Jesus Christ, incarnate, dead and risen.” It also has a goal, the Pope said, “the Kingdom of God, kingdom peace, justice, freedom, love.”
The Holy Spirit, he added, is the “power of love that has fertilized the womb of the Virgin Mary, and is the same that animates the projects and efforts of all the peacemakers.”
Yesterday was the 47th World Day of Peace and this year’s theme, chosen by Francis and published last month, is “Fraternity; Foundation and Path to Peace.”
“At the foundation is the conviction that we are all children of our Heavenly Father, we are part of the same human family, and we share a common destiny,” the Pope said. “Thus we all have the shared responsibility to work so that the world becomes a community of brothers and sisters who respect each other, accept differences and take care of each other.”
“We are also called to be aware of the violence and injustices present in many parts of the world and that should not leave us indifferent and immobile: the commitment of all is necessary to build a more just and caring society,” the Pope added.
Departing from his prepared remarks, he said that in recent days he had received a letter from a man who spoke of all the difficulties and even violence in the world. He asked the Holy Father what happens in the human heart to allow all of this, and asked that it stop. “I make his words my own,” the Pope said. “What is happening in the human heart, in the heart of humanity? It is time to stop!”
Francis continued by invoking the Lord’s help on “this first day of the year” to set out “more firmly on the path of justice and peace, the Holy Spirit acting in our hearts, loosening the fastenings and hardening of hearts so that they will open up to the tenderness and weakness of the Child Jesus.”
“Peace requires the force of meekness, the force of nonviolence of truth and of love,” he said.
He concluded: “We place our hopes with filial trust in the hands of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer. May she, who extends her maternal love to all mankind, hear the cry for peace of the people oppressed by war and violence, so that the courage of dialogue and reconciliation prevail over the temptation for revenge, arrogance, corruption.”
“We ask her for the Gospel of fraternity, proclaimed and witnessed by the Church, to speak to every conscience and break down the walls that prevent enemies from recognizing each other as brothers”
After reciting the Angelus, Francis greeted the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, and sent his best wishes to the Italian people “so that, with the contribution of all in responsibility and solidarity, we can look to the future with confidence and hope.”
He also thanked various Church movements dedicated to peace such as Caritas, Pax Christi, and the Sant’Egidio Community. He also gave a special greeting to members of the Fraterna Domus and the ‘Star Singers’, “children and young people in Germany and Austria who bring the blessing of Jesus to homes and collect offerings for children in need.”
After offering his best wishes for the new year, the Holy Father repeated what he had said moments earlier in the basilica, invoking Mary with the title: “Holy Mother of God, Holy Mother of God, Holy Mother of God!”