Vatican City, 1 January 2013 (VIS) - On Tuesday, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, the Holy Father presided over Mass in the Vatican Basilica. Concelebrating were cardinals Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state, and Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; archbishops Giovanni Angelo Becciu, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, and Beniamino Stella, president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy; along with Bishop Mario Toso, S.D.B., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Yesterday also marked the 46th World Day of Peace, the theme for which is "Blessed are the Peacemakers".
Following are extracts from the homily given by Pope Benedict XVI:
"Although the world is sadly marked by 'hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism,' as well as by various forms of terrorism and crime, I am convinced that 'the many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind’s innate vocation to peace. In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life. ... Man is made for the peace which is God’s gift. All of this led me to draw inspiration for this Message from the words of Jesus Christ: ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God’. This beatitude 'tells us that peace is both a messianic gift and the fruit of human effort … It is peace with God through a life lived according to His will. It is interior peace with oneself, and exterior peace with our neighbours and all creation'. Indeed, peace is the supreme good to ask as a gift from God and, at the same time, that which is to be built with our every effort.
We may ask ourselves: what is the basis, the origin, the root of peace? How can we experience that peace within ourselves, in spite of problems, darkness and anxieties? The reply is given to us by the readings of today’s liturgy. The biblical texts, especially the one just read from the Gospel of Luke, ask us to contemplate the interior peace of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. During the days in which 'she gave birth to her first-born son', many unexpected things occurred: not only the birth of the Son but, even before, the tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, not finding room at the inn, the search for a chance place to stay for the night; then the song of the angels and the unexpected visit of the shepherds. In all this, however, Mary remains even tempered, she does not get agitated, she is not overcome by events greater than herself; in silence she considers what happens, keeping it in her mind and heart, and pondering it calmly and serenely. This is the interior peace which we ought to have amid the sometimes tumultuous and confusing events of history, events whose meaning we often do not grasp and which disconcert us.
... Here, dear brothers and sisters, is the foundation of our peace: the certainty of contemplating in Jesus Christ the splendour of the face of God the Father, of being sons and daughters in the Son, and thus of having, on life’s journey, the same security that a child feels in the arms of a loving and all-powerful Father. The splendour of the face of God, shining upon us and granting us peace, is the manifestation of his fatherhood: the Lord turns his face to us, he reveals himself as our Father and grants us peace. Here is the principle of that profound peace – 'peace with God' – which is firmly linked to faith and grace, as Saint Paul tells the Christians of Rome. Nothing can take this peace from believers, not even the difficulties and sufferings of life. Indeed, sufferings, trials and darkness do not undermine but build up our hope, a hope which does not deceive because 'God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us'.
May the Virgin Mary, whom today we venerate with the title of Mother of God, help us to contemplate the face of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. May she sustain us and accompany us in this New Year: and may she obtain for us and for the whole world the gift of peace. Amen!"