Catholic World News

‘Ocean of mercy’ overcomes ‘torrent of misery,’ Pope preaches on New Year’s Day

January 04, 2016

On January 1, Pope Francis celebrated morning Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, delivered an Angelus address, and celebrated an evening Mass at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.

The mystery of the Incarnation “constantly clashes with the dramatic experience of human history,” he preached in his first homily. “Sometimes we ask ourselves how it is possible that human injustice persists unabated, and that the arrogance of the powerful continues to demean the weak, relegating them to the most squalid outskirts of our world … A torrent of misery, swollen by sin, seems to contradict the fullness of time brought by Christ.”

“And yet this swollen torrent is powerless before the ocean of mercy which floods our world,” he continued, adding:

All of us are called to immerse ourselves in this ocean, to let ourselves be reborn, to overcome the indifference which blocks solidarity, and to leave behind the false neutrality which prevents sharing. The grace of Christ, which brings our hope of salvation to fulfillment, leads us to cooperate with him in building an ever more just and fraternal world, a world in which every person and every creature can dwell in peace, in the harmony of God’s original creation.

During his Angelus address, he asked the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Peace, to intercede for peace.

“That peace, which God the Father wants to sow in the world, must be cultivated by us,” he told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “This involves a real struggle, a spiritual battle that takes place in our hearts, for the enemy of peace is not only war, but also indifference, which makes us think only of ourselves and creates barriers, suspicions, fears, and closures.”

At the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, Pope Francis opened the holy door for the extraordinary jubilee year of mercy and preached that “for us, Mary is an icon of how the Church must offer forgiveness to those who seek it.”

“The Mother of forgiveness teaches the Church that the forgiveness granted on Golgotha knows no limits,” he continued. “Neither the law with its quibbles, nor the wisdom of this world with its distinctions, can hold it back. The Church’s forgiveness must be every bit as broad as that offered by Jesus on the Cross and by Mary at his feet. There is no other way.”

Recalling the Council of Ephesus (431), at which the Church dogmatically defined that the Virgin Mary is the Mother of God, he concluded:

And with the love and affection of children, let us cry out to Our Lady as did the faithful people of God in Ephesus during the historic Council: “Holy Mother of God!” I invite you to repeat together this acclamation three times, aloud and with all your heart and with all your love: “Holy Mother of God! Holy Mother of God! Holy Mother of God!”

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