Pope Francis, in his new year messages at St. Peter’s Basilica suggested that “we should acknowledge that we need the Lord to enlighten us” to the faithful and the tourists who came to celebrate together and hear his message.
In general, reviewing the various messages in recent days from this pontiff, it seems Francis wanted to express hope and encouragement to the people who came to share, worship and celebrate with him at the Vatican.
And Pope Francis clearly sees new opportunities for improvement with the arrival of a new year, per the report from Crux. He added we should consider the infant born in Bethlehem to learn something more about God. As the pontiff points out in his message, there was a plan.
“God wanted to be close, in the flesh, to those who feel lost, hurt, discouraged, afraid, inconsolable, or who feel burdened by loneliness so that sin, despair and exclusion [wouldn’t have the final word.] “
But Pope Francis’ new year messaging seemed one designed to preach to the faithful and give hope to all persons seeking an official communication from the popular pontiff.
Considering the message of the birth of the Lord in a Bethlehem manger, said the pontiff, would help in the contemplation of the God-Child as the old year ends and a new year begins. He stated that “the times ahead call for bold and hope-filled initiatives, as well as the renunciation of vain self-promotion and endless concern with appearances.”
If people were to make an effort and “return to the sources and roots of our faith,” said Francis, then that faith would become a new hope. “In Jesus, faith becomes hope; it becomes a leaven and a blessing.”
As RadioVaticana describes it, the Pope meant to explain “the logic of the manger” as being one of “closeness” which does not allow for exclusion or divisiveness. He encouraged all “to contemplate how God has been present throughout this year and to remind ourselves that every age, every moment is the bearer of graces and blessings.”
Later, per Voux Magazine, Pope Francis told another crowd of believers that our modern means of communication may be “cauterizing our hearts and making us lose the capacity for tenderness and wonder, for pity and compassion.” From the YouTube video below, Francis also wanted to speak clearly to those feeling alone in the world.
“To celebrate Mary as Mother of God and our mother at the beginning of the new year means recalling a certainty that will accompany our days,” said Pope Francis in the first new year message, “we are a people with a Mother; we are not orphans.”
He added that it also “reminds us that we are not interchangeable items of merchandise or information processors. We are children, we are family, we are God’s People.”
Addressing the crowds of faithful at the Vatican, the 80 year old Pope again warned the people of societies which risk becoming “cold and calculating” and losing compassion, per the information from Reuters. Quoted in that story, the pontiff tried to encourage “all men of good will.”
“I ask the Lord to sustain all men of good will to courageously roll up their sleeves to confront the plague of terrorism and this stain of blood that is covering the world with a shadow of fear and a sense of loss.”
And with the terrorism attack recently in Istanbul, NBC reports that this was also weighing upon the Pope’s mind. He took time to urge leaders to work together in the effort to fight the “plague of terrorism.” In his New Year’s message he told the faithful that “a bloodstain” covered the world as it began the new year 2017.
The Istanbul nightclub attack killed at least 39 people, per the report. The Pope, however, took time to express the pain he said he felt over this, and he prayed for the victims as well.
“Pained, I express my closeness to the Turkish people. I pray for the many victims and for the wounded and for the entire nation in mourning.”
Pope Francis’ new year’s messages are usually well-received, as he is known for his humility, and he tends to emphasize God’s mercy and love for people.
[Featured Image by Andrew Medichini/AP Images]