The approach of Christmas, the day in which God fulfills his promise, is among men, " abandons His greatness to make himself close to each one of us" was at the center of the Pope's catechesis at the general audience today. "Evil will not triumph forever" because "God is stronger" is the message that comes from Christmas, recalled by Francis to six thousand people present in the Paul VI.
The Pope said, the prophet Isaiah helps us once again to open
ourselves to hope, receiving the Good News of the coming of salvation.
Chapter 52 of Isaiah begins with the invitation addressed to Jerusalem
to awake, to shake herself from the dust and loose the bonds, and to put
on her beautiful garments, because the Lord has come to liberate His
people (vv. 1-3).
And he adds: “My people shall know my name, that it is
I who speak; here am I” (v. 6). To this “here am I” said by God, which
summarizing His whole will of salvation and of closeness to us, the
song of joy of Jerusalem responds, in keeping with the prophet’s
"God - he continued - God has not abandoned His people and did not
let Himself be defeated by evil, because He is faithful, and his grace
is greater than sin. We must learn this, because we are obstinate and do
not learn it. But I will ask a question: what is greater, God or sin?
God! And who wins at the end, God or sin? God. He is able to overcome
the greatest sin, the most shameful, the most terrible, the worst of
sins. With what weapon does God overcome sin? With love! This means that
“God reigns”; these are the words of faith in a Lord whose power bends
over humanity, abases Himself, to offer mercy and liberate man from what
disfigures in him the beautiful image of God, because when we are in
sin, God’s image is disfigured. And the fulfilment of so much love will
be in fact the Kingdom established by Jesus, that Kingdom of forgiveness
and peace that we celebrate at Christmas and that is realized
definitively at Easter. And the most beautiful joy of Christmas is this
interior joy of peace: the Lord has cancelled my sins, the Lord has
forgiven me, the Lord has had mercy on me, He came to save me. This is
the joy of Christmas!. "
" These are, brothers and sisters, the reasons for our hope. When
everything seems ended, when, in face of so many negative realities,
faith becomes difficult and the temptation comes to say that nothing has
meaning anymore, see instead the Good News brought by those swift feet:
God is coming to realize something new, to establish a kingdom of
peace. God has “bared His arm” and is coming to bring freedom and
consolation. Evil will not triumph for ever, there is an end to pain.
Despair is defeated because God is among us. And we are also asked to
awake somewhat, like Jerusalem, in keeping with the invitation addressed
to her by the prophet. We are called to become men and women of hope,
collaborating with the coming of this Kingdom made of light and destined
to all, men and women of hope. How awful it is when we meet a Christian
that has lost hope! “But I don’t hope for anything, everything has
ended for me”: so says a Christian who is unable to look at horizons of
hope and, before his eyes there is only a wall. But God destroys these
walls with forgiveness! And we must pray for this, that God may give us
hope every day, and that He may give it to all; that hope that is born
when we see God in the crib in Bethlehem. The message of the Good News
that has been entrusted to us is urgent. We must also run like the
messenger on the mountains, because the world cannot wait; humanity has
hunger and thirst for justice, for truth and for peace".
"And seeing the little Babe of Bethlehem, the little ones of the
world will know that the promise has been fulfilled, the message has
been realized. Enclosed in a newly born child, needy of everything,
wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger, is the whole power
of the God that saves. Christmas is a day to open the heart: it is
necessary to open one’s heart to so much littleness, which is there in
that Baby, and to so much wonder. It is the wonder of Christmas, for
which we are preparing, with hope, in this Season of Advent. It is the
surprise of a Child God, of a poor God, of a weak God, of a God who
abandons His greatness to make himself close to each one of us".
During the audience, various groups addressed best wishes to the Pope
for his 80th birthday Saturday. In thanking them Francis jokingly said
that "in my country, its bad luck to wish someone a happy birthday
before the day”.