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Christmas Mass: What did Pope Francis really say?

, Christmas Mass: What did Pope Francis really say?, eTurboNews | eTN
Christmas Mass : Dec 24, 2022 at the St Peter's Basilica.

Christmas Mass may be the most important event in the Vatican and for the Catholic Church. Pope Francis presided over Christmas Mass tonight.

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In a world of conflict and coming out of a pandemic, this Christmas in the Vatican is again also a major tourism event and an audience of millions from around the globe, many for the first time physically in Rome to hear the head of the Catholic church spread a message of hope and direction.

The St Peter’s Basilica, located in Vatican City is considered one of the Catholic Church’s holiest temples and an important pilgrimage site. Pope Francis celebrated Christmas Mass tonight at St. Peters’s Basilica. Known as the Night for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord that reflects on the closeness, poverty, and concreteness of the manger in which Mary laid the Christ Child.

“If you feel consumed by events, if you are devoured by a sense of guilt and inadequacy, if you hunger for justice, I, your God, am with you.”

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As the Church celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, Pope Francis offered that assurance to Christians around the world as he presided over Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday evening.

In his homily, the Pope noted that the Gospel of Jesus’ birth seeks to “lead us to where God would have us go”, even as we rush around consumed by consumerist goals.

He focused his reflection on the importance that Luke the Evangelist places on the manger in which Mary lay her Son, noting that his Gospel repeats the term three times in the space of only a few verses (Lk 2).

With the little detail of the manger, he said, the Evangelist seeks to show us God’s “closeness, poverty, and concreteness” in His Son, Jesus.

Closeness in ‘manger of rejection’

Pope Francis said the manager can symbolize humanity’s “greed for consumption” since it serves as a feeding trough that allows food to be consumed more quickly.

“While animals feed in their stalls,” he said, “men and women in our world, in their hunger for wealth and power, consume even their neighbours, their brothers and sisters.”

He lamented the proliferation of wars and injustice, and their deleterious effects on human dignity and freedom, especially that of children.

Yet, said the Pope, God’s Son is first laid precisely in that “manger of rejection and refusal”, making God present in even the worst conditions of human existence.

“There, in that manger, Christ is born, and there we discover His closeness to us. He comes there, to a feeding trough, in order to become our food.”

Confidence in God’s nearness

The Pope added that God is a Father who—instead of devouring His children—“feeds us with His tender love”, drawing near to us in humility.

Each of us can take heart in God’s closeness to our suffering and loneliness, he said.

“The Christmas manger, the first message of the divine Child, tells us that God is with us; He loves us and He seeks us.”

He said there is “no evil nor sin from which Jesus does not want to save us. And He can. Christmas means that God is close to us: let confidence be reborn!”

True richness found in Jesus’ poverty

Pope Francis then turned to the message of “poverty” expressed in the manger, which was surrounded by very little except love.

“The poverty of the manger,” he said, “shows us where the true riches in life are to be found: not in money and power, but in relationships and persons.”

Jesus, added the Pope, is the greatest wealth we can achieve, especially when we learn to love and serve His poverty in the poor of our world.

“It is not easy to leave the comfortable warmth of worldliness to embrace the stark beauty of the grotto of Bethlehem, but let us remember that it is not truly Christmas without the poor.”

“It is not easy to leave the comfortable warmth of worldliness to embrace the stark beauty of the grotto of Bethlehem, but let us remember that it is not truly Christmas without the poor.”

About the author


Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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