Vatican City, Jan 5, 2014 / 09:07 am
Pope Francis delivered his Sunday Angelus greeting to a packed St. Peter's Square today, emphasizing the greatness of divine love revealed in God becoming man.
"The birth of Jesus shows us that God wanted to unite himself to every man and every woman, to each one of us, to communicate to us his life and his joy," Pope Francis said Jan. 5.
"Thus Christmas reveals the immense love of God for humanity. From that flows also the enthusiasm, the hope of us Christians, that in our poverty we know that we are loved, we are visited, accompanied by God; and we see the world and history as the place in which we journey together with him and amongst ourselves, towards a new heaven and a new earth."
As the Church continues to celebrate Christmas, he said, today's reading from the Gospel of John speaks of Jesus incarnation as "the Word" who "became flesh and dwelt among us."
"In these words, which never cease to amaze us, is all of Christianity!" exclaimed the Pope.
God "has shared our human condition, except for sin, but he took ours upon himself as if it were his own, he entered into our history, and became fully God-with-us!"
With the birth of Jesus, not only has a "new world" been born, but also "a world that can be constantly renewed," explained the pontiff.
"God is always present to raise up new men to purify the world from sin that ages and corrupts it."
Despite the fact that human history in general and everyone's personal history "can be marked by difficulties and weaknesses," noted Pope Francis, "faith in the incarnation tells us that God is in solidarity with man and with his history."
"This nearness of God to man, to each man, is a gift that never fades!" emphasized the Pope. "Jesus is patient. Jesus is waiting for us. He waits for us always. This is a message of hope, a message of salvation, ancient and always new and we are called to give witness with joy to this message the gospel of life, the gospel of light, of hope and of love, because the message of Jesus is this: life, light, hope, love."
Even though many times "we prefer to stay in the closure of our mistakes and anguish of our sins," acknowledged Pope Francis, "Jesus does not give up and never ceases to offer himself and his grace that saves us!"
Before leading the crowds in the traditional Marian prayer, the Pope asked for the Mother of God's intercession: "May (she) always sustain us so that we remain faithful to the Christian vocation and we may carry out the desires for justice and peace that we carry with in us at the beginning of this new year."
Pope Francis then expressed his gratitude for the many Christmas greetings he had received. "I would like to, but unfortunately, it is impossible to respond to everyone!"
"But I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, especially the children, for their beautiful drawings – but they really are, eh? The children sent beautiful drawings – beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!" he exclaimed.
"I thank the children first, the youth, the elderly, the families, the parish and religious communities, the associations, the movements, and the diverse groups that wanted to show me affection and closeness."
"I ask everyone to continue to pray for me – I have need of it – and to pray for this (my) service to the Church," he requested.