by Joseph Nangle, OFM
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
At this historical moment it seems important to keep our eyes on our prophetic pope. In a series of conferences, homilies and the annual World Day of Peace message, Francis gives the world an outline of the counter-cultural vision he holds out for global healing. These excerpts from his messages give some idea of the Holy Father’s gospel-centered, revolutionary plea.
Speech to the Vatican Curia – December 23, 2021
“The organization that we must adopt is not that of a business, but is evangelical in nature… For this reason, if the word of God reminds the whole world of the value of poverty, we, the members of the Curia, must be the first to commit ourselves to being converted in a style of sobriety. If the Gospel proclaims justice, we must be the first to try to live transparently, without favoritism or cliques… The clericalism that, as a temptation, daily spreads in our midst, makes us keep thinking of God who speaks only to some, while the others must only listen and obey.”
Urbi et Orbi (Papal Blessing of the City and the World) – December 25, 2021
By the coming of Jesus, the Person of the Word made flesh, into our world, God showed the way of encounter and dialogue. Indeed, he made that way incarnate in himself, so that we might know it and follow it, in trust and hope.
Sisters and brothers, what would the world be like without the patient dialogue of the many generous persons who keep families and communities together? In this time of pandemic, we have come to realize this more and more. Our capacity for social relationships is sorely tried; there is a growing tendency to withdraw, to do it all by ourselves, to stop making an effort to encounter the other and to do things together. On the international level, too, there is the risk of avoiding dialogue, the risk that this complex crisis will lead to taking shortcuts rather than setting out on the longer path of dialogue. Yet only those paths can lead to the resolution of conflicts and to the lasting benefits to all.
Christmas Homily – December 24, 2021
Let us contemplate the child in his littleness. Let us be amazed at this scandalous truth: the one who embraces the universe needs to be held in another’s arms. The one who created the sun needs to be warmed. Tenderness incarnate needs to be coddled. Infinite love has a miniscule heart that beats softly.
That is what we should ask Jesus for at Christmas: the grace of littleness… Tonight God tells you “I love you just as you are … Find in me your measure of greatness…”
World Day of Peace Message – January 1, 2022
Great social changes and peace processes necessarily call for dialogue between the keepers of memory – the elderly – and those who move history forward – the young. Each must be willing to make room for others and not to insist on monopolizing the entire scene by pursuing their own immediate interests, as if there were no past and future. The global crisis we are experiencing makes it clear that encounter and dialogue between generations should be the driving force behind a healthy politics that is not content to manage the present with piecemeal solutions or quick fixes, but views itself as an outstanding form of love for others in the search for shared and sustainable projects for the future.
Promoting such dialogue between generations involves breaking up the hard and barren soil of conflict and indifference in order to sow the seeds of a lasting and shared peace… If amid difficulties, we can practice intergenerational dialogue, we can be firmly rooted in the present, and from here, revisit the past and look to the future.
A Christmas Season and New Year of Dreaming Together!
Joe Nangle OFM is a Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace. As a member of the Assisi Community in Washington, D.C., he is dedicated to simple living and social change. Joe also serves as the Pastoral Associate for the Latino community at Our Lady Queen of Peace, Arlington, Virginia.