At St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis lead the faithful in the recitation of the Angelus on the first Sunday of the new year. Speaking on the day’s Gospel, the Holy Father noted the dramatic contrast between God’s gift of love in the Incarnation, and man’s failure to receive Him. The solemn opening of John’s Gospel, which was already proclaimed on Christmas day and which is read again on this Sunday, “is the invitation of Holy Mother Church to welcome this Word of salvation, this mystery of light,” the Pope said. If we welcome Jesus into our hearts, he continued, “we will grow in understanding and in the love of the Lord, we will learn to be merciful as He is. Especially in this Holy Year of Mercy, let us make sure that the Gospel becomes ever more incarnate in our own lives too.”
Following the recitation of the Marian prayer, Pope Francis greeted pilgrims from Rome and around the world. Once again, he encouraged people to read a passage from the Gospel every day in order “to know Jesus better, and to open our hearts to Jesus.”
Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ address for the Sunday’s Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, happy Sunday!
The liturgy of today, the second Sunday after Christmas, presents to us the Prologue of the Gospel of Saint John, in which is proclaimed that “the Word” – that is, the creative Word of God – “was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14). That Word, which dwells in heaven, that is, in the dimension of God, came to earth so that we might listen and be able to know and touch with our hand the love of the Father. The Word of God is Himself the Only-begotten Son, made man, full of love and of faithfulness (cfr. Jn 1:14), Jesus Himself.
The Evangelist does not hide the dramatic nature of the Incarnation of the Son of God, emphasizing that the gift of the love of God is matched with the non-reception on the part of men. The Word is the light, and yet men have preferred the darkness; the Word came unto His own, but they did not receive Him (cfr. vv. 9-10); they closed the door in the face of the Son of God. It is the mystery of evil that insinuates [itself] into our lives, too, and that demands vigilance and care on our part so that it will not prevail. The book of Genesis says – in a good phrase that makes us understand this – it says that evil “lies in wait at our door” (cfr. Gn 4:7). Woe to us if we allow it to enter; it would then close our door to anyone else. Instead we are called to throw open the door of our heart to the Word of God, to Jesus, in order thus to become His children.
This solemn beginning of the Gospel was already proclaimed on Christmas today; today it is proposed to us once more. It is the invitation of Holy Mother Church to welcome this Word of salvation, this mystery of light. If we welcome Him, if we welcome Jesus, we will grow in understanding and in the love of the Lord, we will learn to be merciful as He is. Especially in this Holy Year of Mercy, let us make sure that the Gospel becomes ever more incarnate in our own lives too. Drawing near to the Gospel, meditating on it and incarnating it in daily life is the best way to understand Jesus and bring Him to others. This is the vocation and the joy of every baptized person: showing Jesus and giving Him to others; but to do that we have to know Him and have Him within us, as the Lord of our life. And He will defend us from evil, from the devil. He is always lying in wait by our door, and wants to enter.
With a renewed burst of filial abandonment, let us entrust ourselves once again to Mary: Let us contemplate the sweet image of the mother of Jesus and our mother in these days of the manger.
In Jesus of Nazareth, mercy has appeared and lives.