Pope Francis has delivered his Christmas Urbi et Orbi message where he highlighted world conflicts but stressed that where God is born there is peace, hope and mercy.
Christ is born for us, let us rejoice in the day of our salvation! Those were Pope Francis’ words to the City and the World this Christmas Day from the central loggia of St Peter’s Basilica.
On a clear, sunny day and on the dot of 12 noon the Holy Father greeted the thousands of people gathered in the square below.
Where God is born, hope is born. Where God is born, peace is born, the Holy Father said. And, he continued, “where peace is born, there is no longer room for hatred and for war.”
Yet, he noted, where the incarnate Son of God came into the world, tensions and violence persist, and peace remains a gift to be implored and built. These tensions included those between Israelis and Palestinians and Pope Francis prayed for a resumption in direct dialogue so that peace in the region would be given a chance.
The Pope also prayed that agreement reached in the United Nations would succeed in halting violence in both Syria and Libya
Pope Francis went on to appeal to the international community to do what they could to end atrocities in countries, such as Iraq, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa.
On the Pope’s mind on this Christmas day were also those affected by what he called, “brutal acts of terrorism, particularly the recent massacres which took place in Egyptian airspace, in Beirut, Paris, Bamako and Tunis.
During his message the Holy Father’s attention turned to who he called, “our martyrs of today,” those brothers and sisters, he said, “ who in many parts of the world are being persecuted for their faith…”
African nations such as, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and South Sudan, were encouraged by Pope Francis to promote a dialogue that leads to a “sincere spirit of reconciliation and of mutual understanding.”
Also those who endure cold, poverty, and rejection including migrants, child soldiers, women who suffer violence, and the victims of human trafficking and the drug trade and those whose struggle to find employment were not forgotten by the Pope.
Speaking in Italian and before taking his leave, Pope Francis recalled the Holy Year of Mercy, saying it was a year to be merciful to one another, because he added “that is how we make peace flourish.”
God is in love with us. He becomes small to help us love him in return.