In his Urbi et Orbi Christmas Message, Pope Francis spoke about the song of the angels, which unites heaven and earth and how we are called to share in their triumphant chorus: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those whom he favors. “I ask everyone to share in this song: it is a song for every man or woman who keeps watch through the night, who hopes for a better world, who cares for others while humbly seeking to do his or her duty.”
The Holy Father also drew attention to various regions of the world where there is conflict and human suffering. He acknowledged that true peace and justice would not be obtained through the mere balance of forces. Instead, it involves a daily commitment to seeking authentic peace that originates in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
True peace is obtainable when society respects the dignity and the inalienable rights of every person who is made in the likeness and image of God. In this context, and only in this context, can society ensure for itself authentic peace, social justice and the promotion of the common good. It is only possible when it is firmly anchored in a perspective of genuine solidarity that commits people to live and work for one another, and never to the detriment of others. The foundational pillars of every society require foremost the defense of life from conception to its natural end, religious freedom, the free expression of thought and the full protection of marriage between a man and a woman — the primary cell of society.
The central and indispensable goal of society in its desire for true peace and justice for every man and woman must remain the search for the common good, as defined by the Magisterium, and the promotion and protection of the inalienable dignity of every human person. These issues are not separate from one another, but are rather profoundly interconnected. Respect for the transcendent dignity of the human person, made in the image of God, remains the ultimate goal of any authentically human society seeking peace and social justice. Making known this basic view of community and society is an imperative for every Christian entrusted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The New Year offers us an opportunity for conversion and renewal, beginning with honest reflection and introspection. The situations and dilemmas confronting the human family can be altered if we as a society are willing to be legitimately transformed through grace and reclaim our true identity revealed to us in Jesus Christ — the Savior of the world. Christians know that love is the reason for God’s entrance into human history. He enters into a loving relationship with humanity, and He awaits every person’s response. Love must animate and enliven every aspect of human life and extend itself into every relationship. Only a society animated in Love — originating and emanating from God, its source and end — will be able to enjoy authentic, lasting peace and justice for all.
My prayer for the New Year is for every heart to open itself to the transforming power of Love manifested in Jesus Christ and rekindle within society respect for every life.
Happy New Year! May it be a blessed one.