By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis is urging Christians to prepare themselves for Christmas this Advent season by being humble and trying to build peace in their soul, in their family and in the world.
Delivering a homily at Mass, Friday morning at the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican, the Pope said that peacemaking consists in not talking evil of and harming others, a bit like imitating God, who humbled Himself.
Pointing to the pastoral scene evoked by Isaiah in the first reading, where the wolf and the lamb, and the leopard and the kid live side by side harmlessly, the Pope said the prophet speaks about the peace of Jesus that transforms life and history, which is why He is called the "Prince of Peace".
Advent, therefore, is the time to prepare ourselves for this Prince of Peace by being at peace with ourselves, our soul, that is often in anxiety, anguish and without hope. For this, one needs to start with oneself.
The Pope said that today the Lord asks us whether our soul is at peace? If not, then we should ask the Prince of Peace to pacify our souls, so we can meet Him. The Pope said we are so used looking at the souls of others rather than our own.
After being at peace with our soul, it is time to be at peace at home, in the family, the Pope said. He noted much sadness in families with much struggle, “small wars” and at times disunity.
He urged Christians to examine themselves whether they are at peace or at war in their families or against others, whether there are bridges or walls that separate.
The Pope then spoke about making peace in the world where there is much war, disunity, hatred and exploitation. Christians should ask themselves what they are doing about creating peace in the world by working for peace in the neighbourhood, in the school and in the workplace.
The Pope urged Christians to ask themselves whether they find excuses to make war, to hate, to talk ill about others and condemn or are they meek and try to build bridges.
Children too can ask themselves whether at school they bully a companion they dislike because he is a little hateful or weak, or they make peace and forgive everything.
Peacemaking like God
Peace, the Pope said, is never still but always moves forward. It starts with the soul, and after making its journey of peace, returns to the soul. Making peace is a bit like imitating God. When He wanted to make peace with us and forgave us, He sent His Son to make peace, to be the Prince of peace.
The Pope said to be a peacemaker one does not have to be wise and learned and study peace. Peace is an attitude that Jesus speaks about in the Gospel. Jesus glorifies God because he has hidden these things from the wise and learned and has revealed them to the little ones.
Pope Francis urged Christians to make themselves small, humble and be the servant of others. “The Lord will give you the ability to understand how to make peace and will provide you
Stop short of "small wars"
The Pope said that whenever there is the possibility of a “small war” at home, in the heart, at school or at work, we should stop short and try and make peace. “Never, never wound the other. Never,” he said, exhorting Christians to start by not speaking ill of others or firing the first cannon. This way, he said, we become men and women of peace, carrying peace forward.