Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Angelus Address by Pope Francis 1st January 2020
Last night we ended the year 2019 by thanking God for the gift of time and for all its advantages. Today we begin 2020 with the same attitude of gratitude and praise. It is not to be taken for granted that our planet has begun a new revolution around the sun and that we human beings continue to live on it. It is not to be taken for granted. Indeed it is always a “miracle” at which to be amazed and grateful.
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 Saviour. That Child is God’s Blessing to each man and woman, to the great human family and to the whole world. Jesus did not take away the evil of the world, but he defeated it at its root. His salvation is not a magical but rather a “patient” salvation, that is, it requires the patience of love, which takes on inequity and removes its power. The patience of love. Love makes us patient. Often we lose our patience; I too, and please excuse me for yesterday’s bad example. This is why by contemplating the Nativity scene with the eyes of faith, we see the world renewed, freed from the dominion of evil and placed under the royal power 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? By showing us her Son. She takes him in her arms and she shows him to us, and thus, blesses us. She blesses the entire Church, she blesses the whole world. As the angels sang in Bethlehem, Jesus is a “great joy that will come to all people”, he is the Glory of God and peace for mankind (cf. Lk 2:10). And this is the reason why Saint Pope Paul VI wished to dedicate the first day of the year to peace — it is the World Day of Peace — to prayer, to becoming conscious of and responsible for peace. The message for this year, 2020, is as follows: peace is a journey of hope, a journey which moves forward through dialogue, reconciliation and ecological conversion.
Thus, let us fix our gaze on the Mother and the Son whom she shows us. At the beginning of the year, 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 physical slavery. He frees with his love. To those who have lost their self esteem, imprisoned in vicious circles, Jesus says: the Father loves you, he does not abandon you, await his return with unshakable patience (cf. Lk 15:20). To those who are victims of injustice and exploitation and see no way out, Jesus opens the door of fraternity where one finds welcoming faces, hearts and hands, where one can share one’s bitterness and despair and regain some dignity. To those who are gravely ill and feel abandoned and discouraged, Jesus comes near, he touches their wounds with tenderness, dresses them with the balm of comfort and turns weakness into strength for the good, to undo the most tangled knots. To those who are in prison and are 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 come down from the pedestal of our pride — we all have the temptation of pride — and let us ask the blessing of the Holy Mother of God, the humble Mother of God. She shows us Jesus: Let us allow ourselves to be blessed, let us open our heart to his kindness. In this way the year that is beginning will be a journey of hope and of peace, not with words, but through daily gestures of dialogue, reconciliation and care for creation.