Pope: "I hope God is with me", walking beside me
Francis began a series of catechesis dedicated to Christian hope, "that never disappoints." Appeals for days against corruption and human rights, "two realities closely linked: corruption is the downside to fight"; "Human rights are the positive aspect, to promote."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "I hope that God is with me and that we can all say that God walks beside us, God does not leave us alone”. This is the foundation of Christian hope, to which Pope Francis will dedicate the next series of general audience reflections. Hope that never disappoints, unlike optimism, with which it is sometimes confused.
The Pope also launched two appeals, against corruption and in favor of human rights. Francis recalled that "in the coming days two important days promoted by the United Nations take place: International Anti-Corruption Day on Dec. 9, and Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.” Saying they are two closely connected realities, he noted, “corruption is the negative aspect to combat, beginning with the personal conscience and being vigilant of areas of civilian life, especially for those most at risk.” “Human rights is the positive aspect, to be promoted even more decisively, so that nobody is excluded from the effective recognition of the fundamental rights of the human person. May the Lord sustain us in this double commitment”.
The Pope spoke of hope to six thousand pilgrims gathered in the Paul VI saying that "we have such a great need of hope in these times that appear dark, where we sometimes feel lost in front of the evil and violence that surround us, from the pain of our brothers. We feel lost and a little 'discouraged, because we are helpless and we feel that this darkness has no end. But do not let that hope abandon us, because God with His love walks with us, does not leave us alone, I hope God is with me and that we can all say that God walks beside us, God never abandons us and the Lord Jesus has conquered evil and opened the way of life for us ".
"And then, especially in this season of Advent, which is the time of waiting, in which we prepare to welcome the mystery of the Incarnation and the comforting light of Christmas once again, it is important to reflect on hope. Let us learn from the Lord what it means to hope. Then we listen to the words of Sacred Scripture, beginning with the prophet Isaiah, the great prophet of the great messenger of hope. In the second part of his book, Isaiah addresses the people with an announcement of consolation: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people / - says your God. / Speak tenderly to Jerusalem / and cry that his affliction is accomplished, / the his guilt is obvious [...] »./ a voice cries: /" in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, / esplanades in the desert a highway for our Dio./ every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low; / the uneven ground shall become level, / and the rough places a vallata./ Then you will reveal the glory of the Lord / and all mankind together will see it, / because the mouth of the Lord has spoken "(40,1-2.3-5). This is what the prophet Isaiah says. God the Father consoles arousing comforters, whom He asks to hearten the people, His children, announcing that the tribulation is over, the pain is over, and sin has been forgiven. This is what heals a distressed and frightened heart. Hence the prophet calls to prepare the way of the Lord, opening up to His gifts and His salvation".
“The consolation, for the people, begins with the ability to walk the path of God, a new rectified path, a way to be prepared in the desert, so they could go through and return to their homeland. Because the people to whom the prophet turns were experiencing the tragedy of exile in Babylon, and now are told that they can return to their homeland, through a convenient and wide street without valleys and mountains that make the journey arduous, a path opened up in the desert. Preparing that path means to prepare path of salvation a path of liberation from all obstacles and pitfalls. The exile was a dramatic moment in the history of Israel, when the people had lost everything, home, freedom, dignity, and even the trust in God. They felt abandoned and hopeless. Instead, here is the call of the prophet who opens our hearts to faith. The desert is a place where it is difficult to live, and yet it is there that we should journey now not only to find our way back home but also to return to God, and return to hope and smile. When we are in the dark and amid difficulties, we cannot smile but there is hope that teaches us to smile in that way to find God. One of the things that happens to whoever distances themselves from God is the absence of the smile, the smile of hoping to find God, maybe have a great laugh, they joke, yes, but they have lost the smile that only God can give”.
"Life is often a desert, it's hard to walk through it, but if we rely on God, it can become beautiful and as broad as a highway. Just never lose hope, just keep believing, always, despite everything. When we stand in front of a child, we smile spontaneously because a child is a hope. We smile even though it was a difficult day, because we see hope. These words of Isaiah are used by John the Baptist in his preaching inviting to conversion: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord" (Mt 3,3). It is a voice crying where it seems that no one can hear, and screaming amid the confusion due to the crisis of faith. We cannot deny that today the world is in a crisis of faith. Religion has become just a word 'I believe' but this is not the true path of Christianity, it is the search for God, to prepare the encounter with Jesus, this child who will restore our smile. The Israelites, when the Baptist announces the coming of Jesus, it is as if they were still in exile, because they are under Roman rule, making them foreigners in their own homeland, governed by powerful occupants who decide their lives. But the real story is not the one made by the powerful, but one made by God together with his little ones. One that will remain in eternity, this is what God will do with his little ones. Those small and simple people that we find around Jesus when he was born, Zechariah and Elizabeth, elderly and marked by infertility, Mary, a young virgin girl betrothed to Joseph, the shepherds, who were despised and counted for nothing. They are small, made great by their faith, the little they know to keep hoping. They are the ones that transform the desert of exile, the desperate loneliness, suffering, in a flat road on which to walk to meet the glory of the Lord. Let us hope, therefore, to learn, we look forward to the coming of the Lord, and whatever the desert of our lives, everyone knows in walking through that desert they will come upon a flower garden. Hope does not disappoint! Let us say so everyone! ".