12/20/2009, 00.00
VATICAN

Pope: Jesus born in Bethlehem, a city of peace, is not a children's story

Benedict XVI invites us to look to Bethlehem, the city-symbol of peace, where peace has not yet been reached. But the birth of Christ is "the prophecy of peace for every man." Christians must become instruments and messengers of peace "with the sentiments of Jesus."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, reminds us that Christmas, "is not a children's story, but God's answer to the human drama in search of real peace": this was Benedict XVI’s message to pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square today for the Angelus. Taking inspiration from the liturgy of the day, citing the words of the prophet Micah (Mi 5:1), he asked to "look to Bethlehem, the small town of Judaea witness of the great event." He added that "... there is a divine plan that includes and explains the times and places of the coming of the Son of God in the world."

This plan, he stressed "is a plan of peace, as the prophet announced when speaking of the Messiah." Consequently, he continues, "Bethlehem is .... a city-symbol of peace in the Holy Land and throughout the world".  Benedict XVI visited Bethlehem last May, during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. And recalling those days in which he also visited a Palestinian refugee camp and witnessed the "sadness" of the Israeli security wall that divides the city from Jerusalem, the pope added: "Unfortunately, nowadays, it [Bethlehem] has not achieved a stable peace, but a peace arduously sought after and desired”.    

"But God never resigns himself to this state of things, this is why this year in Bethlehem and throughout the world, the mystery of Christmas will be renewed in the Church, the prophecy of peace for every man that commits Christians to immerse themselves in the closures, the dramas, often unknown and hidden, and conflicts of the context in which we live, with the sentiments of Jesus, to become messengers and instruments of peace everywhere, to bring love where there is hatred, forgiveness where there is offence, joy where there is sadness and truth where there is error, according to the beautiful words of a famous Franciscan prayer”.  

"Today, as in the time of Jesus - concluded the pope - Christmas is not a children's story, but God's answer to the human drama in search of real peace. 'He himself will be peace!' - says the prophet, referring to the Messiah. We must open wide our doors to welcome Him. Let us learn from Mary and Joseph: let us faithfully submit ourselves to God's plan even if we do not fully understand it, let us trust in His wisdom and goodness. Let us seek above all else the kingdom of God and Providence will help us. Merry Christmas to you all".

Photo: CPP
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