Last year, for the first time in my pilgrimages to Paris at Christmas, I had to go through metal detectors and cross a ton of French security to get to midnight mass. This year, the thousands of people attending the midnight mass at St Peter’s Basilica all went through serious security checks in the wake of ISIS threats to attack Christian churches. Pope Francis addressed the trying times around the globe, naming many places that so desperately need peace. The NBC translator, Father Manuel Dorantes of Chicago, did an excellent job narrating.
Here is an excerpt from Pope Francis’ Christmas Eve Urbi et Orbi message from St Peter’s Basilica:
Where God is born, hope is born. He brings hope. Where God is born, peace is born. And where peace is born, there is no longer room for hatred and for war. Yet precisely where the incarnate Son of God came into the world,(Judea/Palestine) tensions and violence persist, and peace remains a gift to be implored and built. May Israelis and Palestinians resume direct dialogue and reach an agreement which will enable the two peoples to live together in harmony, ending a conflict which has long set them at odds, with grave repercussions for the entire region.
We pray to the Lord that the agreement reached in the United Nations may succeed in halting as quickly as possible the clash of arms in Syria and in remedying the extremely grave humanitarian situation of its suffering people. It is likewise urgent that the agreement on Libya be supported by all, so as to overcome the grave divisions and violence afflicting the country. May the attention of the international community be unanimously directed to ending the atrocities which in those countries, as well as in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa, even now reap numerous victims, cause immense suffering and do not even spare the historical and cultural patrimony of entire peoples. My thoughts also turn to those affected by brutal acts of terrorism, particularly the recent massacres which took place in Egyptian airspace, in Beirut, Paris, Bamako and Tunis.
To our brothers and sisters who in many parts of the world are being persecuted for their faith, may the Child Jesus grant consolation and strength. They are our martyrs of today.
We also pray for peace and concord among the peoples of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and South Sudan, that dialogue may lead to a strengthened common commitment to the building of civil societies animated by a sincere spirit of reconciliation and of mutual understanding.
May Christmas also bring true peace to Ukraine, offer comfort to those suffering from the effects of the conflict, and inspire willingess to carry out the agreements made to restore concord in the entire country.
May the joy of this day illumine the efforts of the Colombian people so that, inspired by hope, they may continue their commitment to working for the desired peace.
Regardless of your faith, or lack of faith, I think these are all things we can get behind. Why is it so hard to let there be peace on earth?
Merry Christmas, y’all. My wish for all of you is to have a peace in your life, and a very happy, healthy 2017.
Here is my gift to you. It’s the entire Jordan Smith Christmas Album! XO Even the WLS can listen!