Pope Francis at the first Sunday Angelus of the New Year, Jan 2
By Devin Watkins
Jan 4 2022
At the first Sunday Angelus of the New Year, Pope Francis encourages us to invite Jesus into our lives, especially the difficult areas where we struggle, since “God loves to dwell among us”.
Pope Francis prayed the Angelus on the second Sunday during Christmastide, and reflected on the true meaning of Christmas, recited in the traditional Marian prayer: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
He told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square—and those across the world joining the broadcast—that these words contain a paradox.
Opposites reconciled in Jesus
The Eternal Word and human flesh were polar opposites before the Incarnation, said the Pope.
He added that “heaven and earth”, “infinite and finite”, “spirit and matter”, and “light and darkness” are other opposites that apparently have nothing to do with each other.
Yet, said Pope Francis, in Jesus all of these polar opposites come together and are reconciled in the Incarnation of the Son of God.
Dwelling in our midst
Pope Francis said the Gospel uses these polarities to announce God’s “splendid” way of acting.
When God is confronted with our frailties, He does not pull back and retreat into His eternal, infinite light.
Rather, God “descends into darkness, and dwells in lands that are foreign to Him,” said the Pope.
Incarnate in our poverty
The Pope noted that we often keep our distance from God because we doubt our worthiness. Christmas, however, invites us to see things from God’s point of view.
“God wishes to be incarnate,” he said, urging us to overcome our fears by drawing near to Jesus.
The Gospel, he noted, uses the word “to dwell”, which expresses great intimacy and “total sharing.”
Living in our ‘inner stables’
Pope Francis therefore called on Christians to welcome the Christmas message by making space for Jesus in our hearts, no matter their sinful condition.
He said we can welcome Jesus by pausing for a moment before a Nativity Scene.
A creche, said the Pope, “shows Jesus who came to dwell in all our real, ordinary life, where not everything goes well, where there are many problems.”
God, concluded Pope Francis, is there in the midst of all the situations of our daily lives, waiting for us to speak with Him about them.