Could Pope Francis be a modern-day Jesus? Francis delivered the traditional “Urbi et Orbi” speech, which in Latin is interpreted as “to the city and to the world,” offering a message of hope and love for a better world. His Christmas wish included a prayer for Christians under attack, trafficked children, battered women, peace in Africa and the Middle East and more.
The pope’s speech was delivered from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. Francis spoke a message of love, hope and peace to a cheering crowd of at least 70,000 Romans, pilgrims and tourists. In this speech, which was the pope’s first Christmas message since being elected pontiff, he said he was joining all who are hoping for a better world and cares for others.
The 77-year-old pope is seeking to connect the world in a place of peace and non-violence. Jesus also preached a message of hope to a dying world but it often seems that Christians would rather focus on areas of division instead of celebrating the things which push for unity. People who are mature and secure often conclude it’s better to agree to disagree rather than fall out.
The pope has often been criticized for his message of inclusion which seeks to offer love instead of judgment and peace instead of a sword. Jesus suffered much of the same persecution; he sought to unify as oppose to the harsh division that existed before his arrival.
The Argentine pope solicited a moment of silent prayer for Christians who are subjected to any type of violence and have been accused unjustly. Francis said that Christians are being persecuted, not only in countries that don’t allow full religious freedom, but also in places where religious freedom and human rights are “supposedly” protected.
Even though the pope didn’t go into details outlining the countries he referenced it has become common knowledge that the Vatican has made multiple attempts to persuade Saudi Arabia, one of Islam’s holiest places, to release the ban that forbids Christians to worship in public.
This year alone there have been multiple incidents of attacks and intolerance against minority Christians in places such as Nigeria, Indonesia, Egypt, Iraq and Sudan; along with other countries where the law guarantees their rights of religious freedom.
Pope Francis, in the spirit of Jesus Christ, said in a world that is civilized, injustice must be eliminated and denounced. He prayed that this Christmas season would allow an experience of faith and love that shines worldwide.
This is a day where those who state that Christmas is about Jesus shoot down anyone that says Happy Holidays, claiming that they are trying to erase Jesus from his observed birthday. Wouldn’t the message of Jesus include a wish for a happy holiday season? Pope Francis seeks to bring a world divided by religion together by the practice of love and relationship.
Francis prayed, “Lord of life, protect all who are persecuted in your name.” He asked God to bless the land where he chose to enter into the world and grant an outcome to the peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis that is favorable.
To eliminate any confusion the pope took time to explain what peace means to him. He said:
“…True peace is not focused on the balance of opposing forces. It’s not a lovely front which seeks to cover division or conflicts. True peace calls for daily commitment.”
The pope prayed for people everywhere who are struggling for a better life. He asked that refugees receive assistance, hope and consolation. In the spirit of Christ, Pope Francis praying for children who are too often the most vulnerable victims of war and for battered women as well as the elderly.
In a world where many of today’s clergy seek to tear down anyone or religion that doesn’t line up completely with what they believe, the Pope is sweeping through the world like a breath of fresh air. Francis has chosen not to waste time with different persuasions of belief or religions; instead he focuses on what’s most important in the world: a message of love, hope and peace.
Religion is one of the biggest hindrances to a relationship with God. Religion is celebrated by works where relationship is honored by love. No ceremony, sacrament, liturgy creed or amount of money can cause anyone to be reconciled into relationship with God.
Giving up drugs, smoking, alcohol or premarital sex are all healthy choices to make but these things alone won’t restore a broken relationship with God nor do they convince God that one individual is better than another. These things support religion but they don’t make anyone a better candidate for the love of God.
While the fallen nature of mankind loves religion, since it bolsters the ego and boots one’s self esteem, Jesus came to bring the gift of relationship which includes a message of love, hope and peace; much like Pope Francis.
Pope Francis may not be a modern-day Jesus but many believe he is the embodiment of the true message of Christ.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)