Pope Benedict XVI delivered a stirring message from the window of his apartment in the Vatican Palace above a packed St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. Before reciting the Angelus, he welcomed the New Year with an invitation to hope and a reminder that the faithful have a responsibility to collaborate with God.
The Pope began by saying that despite problems in the Church, the world and our family lives, we can always trust in God to be our hope, a hope that does not rely on “improbable prognostications” or “economic forecasts.” This is also not a hope in a “generic religiosity, or in a fatalism feigned as faith.”
“We trust in the God that revealed completely and definitively in Jesus Christ His will to be with man, to share his story, to guide us all to His kingdom of love and life,” continued the Holy Father.
The Pontiff referred to the three biblical readings from Sunday’s Eucharistic liturgy as being “of extraordinary wealth” in illuminating this revelation. “These texts,” he explained, “affirm that God is not only creator of the universe – an aspect also in common to other religions – but that He is the Father… .”
Through these readings, Benedict XVI said, we know that God chose us as His adopted children, first among creation, and even made himself man to live among us, thus, making “all of the fullness of divinity” bodily present.
The true reason for us to have hope, continued the Pope, is “the meaning given to history because it is 'inhabited' by the Wisdom of God.”
However, he noted, this “divine design” does not come about on its own, but is a “project of love,” which generates and asks for freedom.
“Each man and woman is responsible for taking Him in to their own lives, day by day.”
Thus, said the Pope, the value of the year 2010 for us is contingent on our ability to “collaborate with the grace of God,” according to our individual responsibilities.
The Pontiff concluded by using the example of the Virgin Mary as a spiritual model, because when she gave her consent the Son of God was conceived.
“Each time the Lord wants to take a step ahead, together with us, towards the 'promised land,' he calls first to our hearts, (and) waits for … our ‘yes’, in the big and the small choices.”
After the Angelus, the Benedict XVI greeted all the English-speakers in the crowd, calling them to be “witnesses to the light that enlightens the whole of creation” like John the Baptist in Sunday’s Gospel.