The “Gloria” begins: “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace to people of good will.”
This follows the Latin accurately, but what does it mean? The words are taken from Luke 2:14. Most commentators take “good will” as referring to God’s good will. Thus the Revised New American Bible (a Catholic rendition) has “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” This may still sound like God offers peace to only a select few.
Perhaps the real meaning comes through better in the Christian Community Bible (a Catholic rendition for Hispanics, especially used in basic communities with notes translated from the Spanish). This version has “Glory to God in the highest; peace on earth for God is blessing humankind.” This rendition loses the rhythm of the other versions, but does express the idea that God’s good will, God’s peace, is offered to all human beings through the newly born child Jesus.
These few words lead us deep into the mystery of God and especially the meaning of the incarnation. In becoming one of us, the Son of God gives glory to God and enables all creation to come to peace. We still look for the full realization of this promise, but we can find peace in our lives by surrendering to the incarnate Son of God and allowing him to continue his work in us. We never lose hope because Jesus lives in us through his Spirit and will help us to fulfill our vocation as his followers.
Feature photo: Photoxpress/Pressmaster