성탄절인 25일(바티칸 현지시각) 프란치스코 교황은 성 베드로 성당에서 가진 성탄절 미사에서 인류의 화합을 특히 강조했다. 교황은 매년 전통적인 성탄절 메시지인 “우르비 엣 오르비(로마와 온 세계에)”를 발표하고, 폭력과 전쟁으로 고통 받는 지역의 평화를 기원했다.
프란치스코 교황은 이날 강론에서 먼저 이스라엘과 팔레스타인 갈등 지역에 다시 평화가 정착돼야 한다고 강조하고, 양측이 모두 조화를 이루며 살아가야 한다고 촉구했다.
이어 교황은 시리아 내전(civil war)과 관련, 유엔이 중재하는 평화회담‘이 성사되고, 그곳에 인도주의적 지원이 이뤄지기를 기원하고, 리비아, 이라크 예멘, 나아가 아프리카 사하라 사막 이남 지역에서 벌어지고 있는 잔혹한 행위들이 중단되도록 국제사회가 노력해야 한다고 호소했다.
교황은 “일부 잔혹한 행위 가운데에는 역사적으로 문화적으로 중요한 유산의 파괴도 있다”며 간접적으로 이슬람 수니파 과격 무장 세력인 이른바 ‘이슬람국가(IS=Islamic State)'를 겨냥하기도 했다.
프란치스코 교황은 또 이집트와 레바논, 프랑스, 말리, 튀니지 등지에서 잇따라 발생한 테러(terror)로 인한 희생자들에 대해 경의를 표하고, 그들을 ‘오늘의 순교자들’이라고 부르기도 했다.
교황은 이어 아프리카의 콩고민주공화국, 부룬디, 남수단에서도 대화를 통한 평화와 안정이 필요하다고 호소하고, 또 이번 성탄절이 무력충돌로 고통 받는 우크라이나에도 평화를 가져오기를 바란다고 말했다.
프란치스코 교황은 난민문제에 대해 “수많은 난민을 수용하고, 희망찬 미래를 설계할 수 있게 지원하는 개인이나 국가들을 신(God)이 보상해주실 것”이라고 강조하고, “아직도 세계 곳곳에서는 수많은 사람들이 인간적인 고귀함을 상실한 채 추위와 가난, 폭력, 마약, 소년 징병, 인신매매에 시달리고 있다”고 안타까움을 나타내고, 세계 도처에서 일어나고 있는 반인륜적 행위 등에 대해 두루 언급하며 세계의 평화와 화합을 강조했다.
* 아래는 프란치스코 교황의 2015년 성탄절 미사 강론 전문(영문)
Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Christmas!
Christ is born for us, let us rejoice in the day of our salvation!
Let us open our hearts to receive the grace of this day, which is Christ himself. Jesus is the radiant “day” which has dawned on the horizon of humanity. A day of mercy, in which God our Father has revealed his great tenderness to the entire world. A day of light, which dispels the darkness of fear and anxiety. A day of peace, which makes for encounter, dialogue and reconciliation. A day of joy: a “great joy” for the poor, the lowly and for all the people (cf. Lk 2:10).
On this day, Jesus, the Savior is born of the Virgin Mary. The Crib makes us see the “sign” which God has given us: “a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12). Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we too set out to see this sign, this event which is renewed yearly in the Church. Christmas is an event which is renewed in every family, parish and community which receives the love of God made incarnate in Jesus Christ. Like Mary, the Church shows to everyone the “sign” of God: the Child whom she bore in her womb and to whom she gave birth, yet who is the Son of the Most High, since he “is of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:20). He is truly the Savior, for he is the Lamb of God who takes upon himself the sin of the world (cf. Jn 1:29). With the shepherds, let us bow down before the Lamb, let us worship God’s goodness made flesh, and let us allow tears of repentance to fill our eyes and cleanse our hearts.
He alone, he alone can save us. Only God’s mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst. The grace of God can convert hearts and offer mankind a way out of humanly insoluble situations.
Where God is born, hope is born. 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, 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.
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 willingness 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.
Where God is born, hope is born; and where hope is born, persons regain their dignity. Yet even today great numbers of men and woman are deprived of their human dignity and, like the child Jesus, suffer cold, poverty, and rejection. May our closeness today be felt by those who are most vulnerable, especially child soldiers, women who suffer violence, and the victims of human trafficking and the drug trade.
Nor may our encouragement be lacking to all those fleeing extreme poverty or war, travelling all too often in inhumane conditions and not infrequently at the risk of their lives. May God repay all those, both individuals and states, who generously work to provide assistance and welcome to the numerous migrants and refugees, helping them to build a dignified future for themselves and for their dear ones, and to be integrated in the societies which receive them.
On this festal day may the Lord grant renewed hope to all those who lack employment; may he sustain the commitment of those with public responsibilities in political and economic life, that they may work to pursue the common good and to protect the dignity of every human life.
Where God is born, mercy flourishes. Mercy is the most precious gift which God gives us, especially during this Jubilee year in which we are called to discover that tender love of our heavenly Father for each of us. May the Lord enable prisoners in particular to experience his merciful love, which heals wounds and triumphs over evil.
Today, then, let us together rejoice in the day of our salvation. As we contemplate the Crib, let us gaze on the open arms of Jesus, which show us the merciful embrace of God, as we hear the cries of the Child who whispers to us: “for my brethren and companions’ sake, I will say: Peace be within you” (Ps 121:8).v (끝)