Search

Vatican News
Pope Francis waves to the faithful during the Angelus on New Year's Day, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God Pope Francis waves to the faithful during the Angelus on New Year's Day, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God  (Vatican Media)

Pope at Angelus: Jesus is the blessing for each and all

At the Angelus on New Year’s Day – the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God – Pope Francis reflects on the the traditional blessing given in the first reading from the day’s liturgy.

By Christopher Wells

The image of Mary holding Jesus in her arms was the starting point for Pope Francis in his reflection for the Angelus on the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. “In this way, showing us Jesus, the Saviour of the world, she, the mother, blesses us,” he explained. “She blesses the journey of every man and every woman in this year that is beginning, and that will be good precisely in the measure in which each one will welcome the goodness of God that Jesus came to bring into the world.”

The most ancient blessing


The Holy Father turned to the first reading from the day’s liturgy, which gives us the “most ancient blessing” used by the Israelite priests to bless the people: “The LORD bless you and keep you. The LORD let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The LORD turn His face to you and give you peace.”

The Pope explained that in the Bible, “the name represents the very reality that is being invoked,” so that in this blessing, the invocation of the name of God – “LORD” – means offering God’s “beneficial strength” to those who receive the blessing.

The "face" of God

In mentioning the “face” of the Lord, the priest asks God to grant His mercy and peace to those being blessed. The “face” of God represents His glory, which no man can look upon and live, the Pope said. But although God’s glory, which is “all Love” remains inaccessible in this life, the grace of Love shines upon and illuminates every creature, especially “the men and women in whom it is most fully reflected.”

And this, Pope Francis said, brings us back to the image of Mary, showing us her Son, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. “He is the Blessing for every person and for the whole human family,” the Pope insisted. “He is the outpouring of grace, of mercy, and of peace.”

World Day of Peace

The Holy Father explained that this is why Pope St Paul VI determined that the World Day of Peace should be celebrated on January first, the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. Pope Francis recalled the theme of this year’s observance, “Good politics at the service of peace.” But, he said, “We do not think that politics should be reserved only to political leaders: everyone is responsible for the life of the ‘city,’ for the common good; and even politics is good in the measure in which each one does his or her part ‘in the service of peace’.”

01 January 2019, 12:52