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Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 5 January 2020



Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good Morning!

On this second Sunday of the Christmas Season, the Bible Readings help us to widen our gaze to become fully aware of the meaning of the birth of Jesus.

With the Prologue of Saint John, the Gospel shows us the staggering novelty: the eternal Word, the Son of God, “became flesh” (v. 14). Not only did he come to dwell among the people, but he also made himself one of the people, one of us! After this event, we no longer have only one law, one institution, by which to orient ourselves, but a Person, a divine Person, Jesus, who guides our lives, he urges us to walk on the path because he did so before us.

Saint Paul blesses God for his design of love realized in Jesus Christ (cf. Eph 1:3-6, 15-18). In this plan each of us finds his/her own fundamental vocation. What is it? Paul says: we are predestined to be God’s children through the merit of Jesus Christ. The Son of God became man for us, men and women, children of God. Jesus became flesh for this: to introduce us into his filial relationship with the Father.

Thus, brothers and sisters, as we continue to contemplate the wondrous sign of the Crèche, today’s liturgy tells us that the Gospel of Christ is not a fairytale, it is not a myth, an edifying story, no. The Gospel of Christ is the full revelation of God’s design, of God’s plan for mankind and the world. It is a message that is, at once, both simple and grand that spurs us to ask ourselves: what concrete plan has God set aside for me, in renewing his birth among us?

The Apostle Paul suggests the answer: God “chose us ... that we should be holy and blameless before him” (v. 4). This is the meaning of Christmas. If the Lord continues to come among us, if he continues to offer us the gift of his Word, it is so that each of us may answer this call: to become holy in love. Holiness is belonging to God. It means communion with him, the transparency of his infinite kindness. Holiness is to safeguard the gift that God has given to us. Only this: to safeguard the spontaneous gift. This is what being holy means. Thus, those who welcome holiness within themselves as a gift, a grace, cannot but translate it into concrete daily action. I convert this gift, this grace that God has given me, into practical action in daily life, in the encounter with others. At the same time, this charity, this mercy towards the other, a reflection of God’s love, purifies our heart and makes us willing to forgive, making us “immaculate” day by day. But not immaculate in the sense of removing a stain: immaculate in the sense that God enters within us, God’s spontaneous gift enters us and we safeguard it and give it to others.

May the Virgin Mary help us to receive with joy and gratitude the divine design of God, achieved in Jesus Christ.

After the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters, A terrible air of tension can be felt in many parts of the world. War brings only death and destruction. I call on all the parties to keep alight the flame of dialogue and self-restraint and to avoid the shadow of hostility. Let us pray in silence that the Lord may give us this grace.

I offer a cordial greeting to you all, pilgrims from Italy and from other countries. I greet the families, associations and parish groups, in particular the Confirmation youth from Mozzo and Almè — you have a lovely sign —, Diocese of Bergamo, and the “Fraterna Domus” Group.

On this First Sunday of the year, I renew to all my wishes of serenity and peace in the Lord. In happy and in difficult times, let us entrust ourselves to the One who is our hope! Let us remember the commitment we made on New Year’s Day, World Day of Peace: “Peace as a journey of hope: dialogue, reconciliation and ecological conversion”. By the Grace of God, we will be able to put it into practice.

I wish you all a Happy Sunday. And please do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. See you tomorrow on the Solemnity of the Epiphany.

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