Look to Mary, the Queen of Peace, to show the world the way.
Peace was the focus of Pope Francis’ Angelus address on the first Sunday of the new year.
Recalling today’s Gospel from the Prologue of St. John, in which the evangelist calls Jesus Christ "the true light that enlightens every man", the Pope noted that this light is not always welcomed it encounters human freedom.
"Men speak a great deal about light," the Pope said, "but often they prefer the deceptive tranquility of darkness."
"The heart of man can refuse the light and prefer the darkness because the light lays bare his evil works," he added. "Whoever does evil, hates the light. Whoever does evil, hates peace." Yet, he observed: "Every man and every people hungers and thirsts for peace; it is therefore necessary and urgent to build peace."
Pope Francis called upon the faithful in the new year to make peace at home, in the workplace and in their communities, always mindful that "prayer is at the root of peace". He concluded his address by encouraging everyone to look to Mary, the Queen of Peace, to show the world the path to peace.
Here below we publish the full text of the Pope’s address.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. What a beautiful Sunday the new year has given us. What a lovely day.
In the Gospel we read today, St. John tells us: “In him was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world"(1:4-5;9). Men speak a great deal about light, but often they prefer the deceptive tranquility of darkness. We speak much of peace, but often we resort to war or choose complicit silence, or we do nothing concrete to build peace. In fact, John says that “he came to his own home, and his own people received him not” (Jn 1:11). Therefore, “this is judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (Jn 3:19). This is what St. John says in the Gospel. The heart of man can refuse the light and prefer the darkness because the light lays bare his evil works. Whoever does evil, hates the light. Whoever does evil, hates peace.
A few days ago we began the new year in the name of Mother of God, celebrating the World Day of Peace with the theme: “No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters”. My hope is that the exploitation of man by man may be overcome. This exploitation is a social plague that crushes interpersonal relationships and prevents a life of communion marked by respect, justice and charity. Every man and every people hungers for peace. Every man and every people hungers and thirsts for peace, therefore it is necessary and urgent to build peace.
Peace is not just the absence of war, but a general condition in which the human person is in harmony with himself, in harmony with nature and in harmony with others. This is peace.
Nevertheless, silencing arms and stopping outbreaks of war and stop remains the inevitable condition for beginning a journey that leads to the attainment of peace in its different aspects.
I think of the bloody conflicts that still exists in too many regions of the planet, of tensions in families and communities — but in how many families, in how many communities, even in parish communites, there is war — as well as the sharp divide in our cities, our countries, between groups of different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. We need to become convinced that despite all appearances to the contrary, harmony is always possible, at every level and in every situation. There is no future without development and peace projects! There is no future without peace!
In the Old Testament, God made a promise. The Prophet Isaiah said: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not life up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Is 2:4). This is beautiful. Peace is announced as a special gift of God [that comes] with the birth of the Redeemer: “On earth peace among men with whom he is pleased” (Lk 2:14). This gift must incessantly be implored in prayer. Let us recall, here in the square, that sign [from January 1]: “Prayer is at the root of peace.” This gift must be implored and it must be cultivated each day with commitment in the situations in which we find ourselves.
At the dawn of this new year, we are all called to rekindle an impulse of hope in our hearts, which must then be transformed into concrete works of peace. “You don’t get on well with this person? Make peace”; “At home? Make peace”; “ In your community? Make peace”; “At work? Make peace.” Works of peace, reconciliation and fraternity. Each of us must carry out these acts of fraternity toward others, especially those who are suffering from family tensions or disputes of various kinds. These small gestures have great value: they can be the seeds that give rise to hope, they can open roads and prospects for peace.
Let us invoke Mary, the Queen of Peace. During her life on earth she experienced great difficulty related to the daily struggles of life. But she never lost her peace of heart — the fruit of her trusting abandonment to God’s mercy. We ask Mary, our tender Mother, to show the world the sure way of love and peace.
Translation by Diane Montagna of Aleteia’s English edition.