Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the theme of ‘Christian hope’ at his Wednesday General Audience, saying the Kingdom brought by Jesus at his birth calls us to be joyful heralds in a world that “yearns for justice, truth, and peace”.
Pope Francis focused his reflection on the words of the prophet Isaiah: “How beautiful upon the mountains, are the feet of the one bringing good news” (Is 52:7,9-10).
He said these words help us prepare for the coming feast of Christmas by opening ourselves to the hope of salvation.
The prophet calls God’s people to rejoice, for the Lord is near, bringing freedom from exile and the promise of renewal and redemption for the faithful “remnant” who continued to hope in his word.
Pope Francis noted how the prophet speaks “not of the messenger but of the messenger’s feet”.
Comparing this to the spouse in the Song of Songs (Sg 2:8), he said, “So also the messenger of peace races to bring the proclamation of liberation, of salvation, and declaring that God reigns.”
The Pope said God’s kingdom means that “God has not abandoned His people and has not let them be overcome by evil, because He is faithful and His grace is greater than sin… And the fulfillment of so much love will be exactly the Kingdom established by Jesus, that Kingdom of pardon and peace, which we celebrate at Christmas and which is manifested conclusively in Easter.”
“These,” he said, “are the reasons for our hope. When all seems over, when in the face of so many negative realities faith grows weary and the temptation to say that all has lost meaning comes, rather, [look to] the good news brought by those quick feet: God is coming to make something new, to establish a kingdom of peace. God has ‘extended His arm’ and brings liberty and consolation.”
Pope Francis went on to say that, strengthened by this promise, we can face difficulties in the confident knowledge that God’s reign has begun, and that we ourselves are called to be its joyful heralds in a world that “yearns for justice, truth, and peace”.
This Christmas, he said, may we open our hearts to the message of salvation brought by the Christ Child, the Son of God who shows his great power by embracing smallness, weakness, and poverty.
“This,” he concluded, “is the surprise of a child God, of a poor God, of a weak God, of a God who abandons His greatness in order to draw near to each of us.”