“In the little town of Bethlehem we see revealed God’s love for each of us”
VATICAN CITY — “What is the real hope that Christmas brings?” Pope Francis asked today as Christians around the world prepare to celebrate the Birth of Jesus.
The true hope that Christmas brings, he said, is nothing less than “eternal life.”
“When we speak about hope, often we refer to what is not in man’s power to accomplish, and to what is not visible to man. Indeed, what we hope for is beyond our power and our gaze. But the Birth of Christ, by inaugurating the Redemption, speaks to us about a different hope, a trustworthy hope, one that is visible and understandable, because it is founded in God.”
In the Birth of Jesus, God “enters into the world and gives us the strength to walk with Him: God walks with us in Jesus and walking with Him toward the fullness of life gives us the strength to remain in the present in a new way, although it may be tiring.”
Hope, then, for the Christian implies “the certainty of being on the way with Christ toward the Father who is waiting for us,” the pope said. “Hope never stops; hope is always on the way and makes us walk. This hope, which the Child of Bethlehem gives us, provides a goal, a good destiny to the present, the salvation of mankind, and beatitude to those who rely on God’s mercy.”
Addressing the faithful and pilgrims gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, the pope said. “Here each of us can ask ourselves: do I walk with hope or is my interior life at a standstill, closed? Is my heart a closed drawer or is it a drawer open to hope that makes me me walk, not alone but with Jesus?”
Pope Francis concluded, saying: “Every ‘yes’ to Jesus is a bud of hope. Let us trust in this bud of hope, in this ‘yes’: ‘Yes, Jesus, you can save me, you can save me.’ A Merry Christmas of hope to all!”
Here below is the official English summary of the pope’s catechesis
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our catechesis on Christian hope leads us in these last days of Advent to contemplate the mystery of Christmas as the coming of hope into our world. By fulfilling his promises and sending his Son, born of the Virgin Mary, God established his Kingdom on this earth and directed our hope to eternal life. This hope is realistic and reliable; it is a hope that redeems and saves, for Christ, by coming in the flesh, has opened the way for us to ascend to the Father. In these days, as we prepare the Christmas crib in our homes and churches, let us be attentive to the message of hope it embodies. In the little town of Bethlehem we see revealed God’s love for each of us, however small or lowly. In Mary, who trusted in God’s word, we see the Mother of Hope. Joseph, too, is the man of hope, who gave Jesus his name, which means “God saves.” The peace proclaimed by the angels was heard with joy by the shepherds. May we too open our hearts to the Good News of the Savior’s birth and renew our hope in the Kingdom of justice, peace and holiness that he came to bring.
Greetings to English-speaking pilgrims:
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Australia, Japan and the United States of America. I pray that each of you, and your families, may experience a blessed Advent, in preparation for the coming of the newborn Savior at Christmas. God bless you!