VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis addressed the crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday, at the start of the new year.
“Last night we concluded the year 2019 by thanking God for the gift of time and all its benefits,” he said. “Today we begin the year 2020 with the same attitude of gratitude and praise.”
The Pope recalled the liturgical feast of Mary, the Mother of God, which recurs on 1 January, saying she “blesses us by showing us her Son.”
“She blesses the whole Church; she blesses the whole world. Jesus, as the Angels sang in Bethlehem, is ‘joy for all people’. He is the glory of God and peace for humanity.”
Pope Francis said Jesus, the Savior, is God’s blessing for every man and woman, because He defeated evil at its root.
“His salvation is not magical, but it is a ‘patient’ salvation, that is, it involves the patience of love, which takes on wickedness and removes its power. The patience of love: love makes us patient,” said the Pope. “We often lose patience. So do I. And I apologize for yesterday’s bad example…”
The apology Pope Francis offered was in connection with a moment from his visit to the Nativity scene in St Peter’s Square on Tuesday evening.
As he greeted the faithful, a woman tugged his arm, causing a shooting pain to which the Pope reacted with an impatient gesture to free himself from her grip.
The Pope said Jesus reminds us that God loves us, even when we have lost our “self-esteem by remaining prisoners of vicious cycles”.
“To those who are victims of injustice and exploitation and see no way out, Jesus opens the door of fraternity, where they can find welcoming faces, hearts and hands, where they can share bitterness and despair, and recover some dignity.”
Pope Francis said those who are seriously ill and feel abandoned should remember that Jesus is close to them and tenderly touches their wounds, turning weakness into “a force for good.”
“To those who are imprisoned and are tempted to close in on themselves,” he said, “Jesus reopens a horizon of hope, starting with a small glimmer of light.”
Pope Francis also recalled his message for the 53rd World Day of Peace, celebrated on New Year’s Day.
“For the year 2020 the Message is this: ‘Peace as a journey of hope’, a journey in which progress is made through dialogue, reconciliation and ecological conversion.”
In conclusion, Pope Francis invited us to “descend from the pedestals of our pride and ask for the blessing of the Holy Mother of God” who shows us that we are blessed in Jesus.
“Thus the year that begins will be a journey of hope and peace, not through words, but through daily gestures of dialogue, reconciliation and care for creation.”