As New Year begins, Pope Francis says, ‘Mary gives us hope’

In his homily during the Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, Pope Francis invites the faithful to rediscover “the enthusiasm of going” and “the wonder of seeing,” as the shepherds did, “the secret that can make this world truly new.”

By Christopher Wells

Mary’s Motherhood is a “fundamental datum of faith,” but also “ “a marvelous fact”: “God has a Mother,” Pope Francis explained, “and is thus bound forever to our humanity, to the point that our humanity is His humanity.”

In his homily for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, the Holy Father noted that this truth has “mostly entered the hearts and minds of the holy People of God” through the invocation in the dearly loved prayer, the Hail Mary. “To this invocation, the Mother of God always responds,” the Pope said. “She hears our petitions; holding her Son in her arms, she blesses us and brings us the tender love of God made flesh.”

“In a word, Mary gives us hope.”

The Pope said, "The year, which opens with the celebration of God's Mother and our own, tells us that the key to hope is Mary, and that the antiphon of hope is the invocation, 'Holy Mother of God!'"

And, he added, "Today we entrust to our Blessed Mother our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI so that she may accompany him in his passage from this world to God."

Prayer for the suffering

Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray to Mary “in a special way for her sons and daughters who are suffering and no longer have the strength to pray,” as well as for all those suffering conflict and war.

“For all those who have no peace, let us invoke Mary, the woman who brought into the world the Prince of Peace.”

In particular, he invited us to be guided by the shepherds of Bethlehem, “the first to recognize God among us, the God who became poor and loves to be with the poor.”

The shepherds went with haste

“The Gospel emphasizes two very simple things that the shepherds did,” the Pope said: “They went and they saw.”

Noting that the shepherds did not hesitate, but went in haste to see the Christ Child, Pope Francis said, “If we are to welcome God and His peace, we cannot stand around complacently, waiting for things to get better.”

Instead, he invited the faithful to ask how they can help others, “in the humility of service, in the courage of caring for others.”

The shepherds saw the Christ Child

The Pope then focused on what the shepherds saw when they arrived in Bethlehem. “The important thing was that they had seen Him,” Pope Francis said, adding, “What is important is to see, to look around, and, like the shepherds, to halt before the Child resting in His mother’s arms.”

At the beginning of the new year, he said, “let us devote some time to seeing, to opening our eyes, and to keeping them open before what really matters: God and our brothers and sisters.”

Imitating the shepherds

Concluding his homily, Pope Francis said, “Today the Lord has come among us, and the Holy Mother of God sets Him before our eyes.” He invited us “to rediscover, in the enthusiasm of going and the wonder of seeing, the secret that can make this year truly ‘new’.”

Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

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01 January 2023, 10:15