SOLEMNITY OF MARY HOLY MOTHER OF GOD
53rd WORLD DAY OF PEACE
St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning! And happy New Year!
Last night we ended the year 2019 by thanking God for the gift of time and all its benefits. Today we start 2020 with the same attitude of gratitude and praise. It is not obvious that our planet has started a new tour around the sun and that we human beings continue to live there. It is not obvious, in fact, it is always a "miracle" to be surprised and thanked.
On the first day of the year the Liturgy celebrates the Holy Mother of God, Mary, the Virgin of Nazareth who gave birth to Jesus, the Savior. That Child is the Blessing of God for every man and woman, for the great human family and for the whole world. Jesus did not remove evil from the world but defeated it at the root. Her salvation is not magical, but it is a "patient" salvation, that is, it involves the patience of love, which takes charge of iniquity and takes away its power. The patience of love: love makes us patient. Many times we lose patience; me too, and I apologize for yesterday's bad example [probably refers to the reaction towards a person who had yanked him in the square]. For this reason, contemplating the Nativity scene, we see, with the eyes of faith, the renewed world, freed from the dominion of evil and placed under the royal lordship of Christ, the Child who lies in the manger.
This is why today the Mother of God blesses us. And how does Our Lady bless us? Showing us the Son. He takes it in his arms and shows it to us, and so he blesses us. Bless the whole Church, bless the whole world. Jesus, as the Angels sang in Bethlehem, is "joy for all the people", is the glory of God and peace for men (cf. Lk 2:14). And this is the reason why the Holy Pope Paul VI wanted to dedicate the first day of the year to peace - it is the Day of Peace - to prayer, awareness and responsibility for peace. For this year 2020, the Message is like this: Peace is a path of hope, a path in which we advance through dialogue, reconciliation and ecological conversion.
Therefore, let us fix our gaze on the Mother and the Son that she shows us. At the beginning of the year, let us bless you! Let us allow ourselves to be blessed by Our Lady with her Son.
Jesus is the blessing for those who are oppressed by the yoke of slavery, moral slavery and material slavery. He frees with love. To those who have lost their self-esteem by remaining a prisoner of vicious turns, Jesus says: the Father loves you, does not abandon you, awaits your return with unwavering patience (cf. Lk 15:20). To those who are victims of injustice and exploitation and do not see the way out, Jesus opens the door of fraternity, where to find welcoming faces, hearts and hands, where to share bitterness and despair, and recover some dignity. To those who are seriously ill and feel abandoned and discouraged, Jesus comes close, touches the wounds with tenderness, pours the oil of consolation and transforms weakness into strength of good to undo the most tangled knots. To those imprisoned and tempted to close in on themselves, Jesus reopens a horizon of hope, starting from a small glimmer of light.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us descend from the pedestals of our pride - we all have the temptation of pride - and ask the blessing of the Holy Mother of God, the humble Mother of God. She shows us Jesus: let us be blessed, we open our hearts to his goodness. Thus the year that begins will be a journey of hope and peace, not in words, but through daily gestures of dialogue, reconciliation and care for creation.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters!
To all of you here in St. Peter's Square and connected through the media, I extend my best wishes for peace and good for the new year.
I thank the President of the Italian Republic, Honorable Sergio Mattarella, for the thought he addressed to me in his end-of-year message, and I reciprocate him by invoking the blessing of God on his high mission.
I warmly greet the participants in the "Peace in all lands" event. This event is organized by the Community of Sant’Egidio in Rome and in many cities around the world. They also have a school for peace. Go on! I greet the pilgrims from the United States of America, New Zealand and Spain; young Italians, Albanians and Maltese together with the Sisters of Charity; the friends and volunteers of the "Fraterna Domus".
I extend my greeting and encouragement to all the initiatives for peace that the particular Churches, associations and ecclesial movements have promoted on this Day of Peace: meetings of prayer and fraternity accompanied by solidarity with the poorest. In particular, I remember the march that took place yesterday afternoon in Ravenna.
My thoughts also go to the many volunteers who, in places where peace and justice are threatened, courageously choose to be present in a nonviolent and unarmed form; as well as to military personnel operating on peacekeeping missions in many conflict zones. Thanks a lot to them!
To all, believers and non-believers, because we are all brothers, I wish to never stop hoping for a world of peace, to be built together day by day. And please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye.