The exchange of greetings for the year that has just begun have given the Pope an opportunity to reflect on present times, especially during the evocative liturgies marking the passing of the calendar year. First of all was the reflection traditional, but no less true for that on time that passes and which is a gift of the Creator to enable his creatures to do good. It is a gift that must not be wasted from that God who came in the fullness of time to manifest himself in the flesh as a "friend of man".
The coming of God which is celebrated in this Christmas Season has anticipated his second coming the definitive coming implored since the dawn of Christianity and has brought hope to the world. This hope is not a vague, generic sentiment but the knowledge that history has an end. This hope that affects the daily life of every human being must characterize us and the young especially, notwithstanding the problematic and unnerving world crisis.
By coming into the world in voluntary poverty, Jesus proposes this as the choice to make in order to combat the poverty that offends justice. For this reason it is necessary to rediscover moderation and solidarity as values that are at the same time evangelical and universal, essential for building peace, the true fruit of justice: opus iustitiae pax.
And this was demonstrated in the consonance among Benedict xvi's words and the end-of-year messages of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, and Giorgio Napolitano, the Italian President. Indeed, the several cordial meetings between the Pope and the Italian Head of State crowned the year by making clear the harmony between the Quirinal and the Vatican the two Roman hills par excellence on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the Lateran Pacts.
However these were not merely speeches for the occasion. In this epoch of globalization, the world crisis should be interpreted in depth and can afford an invaluable opportunity for change. What change? Lifestyles, economies, relations with people and among nations.
Many, in fact, are the forms of poverty to be fought and, in facing them, the Bishop of Rome has once again raised his voice to denounce forcefully "the unacceptable arms race" that violates the United Nations Charter and to denounce the counter violence that fuels the new war in the Gaza Strip and strikes the poorest people above all.
Yes, the crisis can truly be an opportunity to return to a personal reflection on the time that is passing and on the need for that peaceful revolution which began with Jesus' coming in the flesh. It is a revolution that, as Benedict xvi emphasized, demands "infinite patience", even for very long periods, since it concerns "the path of the development of responsibility in consciences".
This applies for believers and non-believers alike, because moderation and solidarity are values both evangelical and universal as is the peace that stems from justice.
St. Peter’s Square
Sept. 20, 2019
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