I thought Pope Francis offered poetically powerful insights in his homily at midnight mass and his noon message to the city and the world.
His thoughts struck me personally because last week I reflected on the Incarnation as the mother of all systemic change. He challenged us “to feel our call to be agents of the hope and tenderness of our people.” He spoke of the little children of the world who need the revolutionary spark of the systemic changes that the Incarnation revealed.
I regard his words as gifts, not to remain wrapped but reflected on.
Midnight Mass homily
In his homily during Midnight Mass he reminded us:
- “A simple story that plunges us into the event that changes our history forever. Everything, that night, became a source of hope.”
- “And there, where everything was a challenge, Mary gave us Emmanuel. …. it was precisely there that the revolutionary spark of God’s love was kindled.
- “In Bethlehem, a small chink opens up for those who have lost their land, their country, their dreams; even for those overcome by the asphyxia produced by a life of isolation.”
- “The One who in his poverty and humility proclaims and shows that true power and authentic freedom are shown in honoring and assisting the weak and the frail.”
- “May your revolutionary tenderness persuade us to feel our call to be agents of the hope and tenderness of our people.”
Noon Message to the world
In his noon message to the city and the world on Christmas says “Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the Child and to recognize him in the faces of little children, especially those for whom, like Jesus, “there is no place in the inn” (Lk 2:7)” He offers us a reality check.
- We see Jesus in the children of the Middle East who continue to suffer because of growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
- We see Jesus in the children of Africa, especially those who are suffering in South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Nigeria.
- We see Jesus in the children worldwide wherever peace and security are threatened by the danger of tensions and new conflicts.
- We see Jesus in the children of unemployed parents who struggle to offer their children a secure and peaceful future.
- We see Jesus in the many children forced to leave their countries to travel alone in inhuman conditions and who become an easy target for human traffickers.
- I see Jesus again in the children I met during my recent visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh, and it is my hope that the international community will not cease to work to ensure that the dignity of the minority groups present in the region is adequately protected.
He concludes …
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The sign of Christmas has also been revealed to us: “a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes” (Lk 2:12). Like the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we welcome in the Baby Jesus the love of God made man for us. And may we commit ourselves, with the help of his grace, to making our world more human and more worthy for the children of today and of the future.
And may we commit ourselves, with the help of his grace, to making our world more human and more worthy for the children of today and of the future.
Unwrapping the gifts of Pope Francis’ insights…
- Have I ever meditated on how the Incarnation not only changed my world but also the whole world?
- Do I recognize the face of Jesus in the faces of children suffering in the world today?
- What are the “revolutionary sparks” that might make our world more human and worthy for the children of today?
- What might Vincent’s reaction be to these reflections?