Pope Francis warned, on Saturday, of an insatiable humanity of money, power and pleasure that devours the weakest and stirs up wars, during a homily on the Mesa do Gallo that was held in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Today Pope Francis celebrated his traditional Midnight Mass at 7:30pm (6:30pm Lisbon time, same as last year), but due to a knee problem he remained seated to one side of the altar and Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re celebrated the Eucharist.
A deacon unveiled a picture of the baby Jesus to the Pope, while children from around the world laid flowers next to him and in St. Peter’s Square the bells rang to announce the birth of Jesus.
In front of the seven thousand people who filled the church, while three thousand people waited outside the square, in a celebration transmitted by Mondovision, he criticized that “after many birthdays celebrated with decorations and gifts, after so much consumerism that included the sacrament of remembrance (…) it has been forgotten the meaning “.
The Pope read the homily while seated and explained the three words he said could inspire the nativity scene: “closeness, poverty and materialism”.
Regarding proximity, the Pope said that “the manger serves to bring food closer to the mouth and to consume it more quickly” and that “it can thus symbolize an aspect of humanity: the lust for consumption”.
“For while the animals in the stable consume food, men of the world thirsty for power and money devour their neighbors, their brethren in the same way,” said Francis, adding:
“How many wars! And in so many places, even today, dignity and freedom are trampled underfoot. And the main victims of human gluttony are always the weak and powerless.”
“This Christmas, as it happened with Jesus, humanity insatiable with money, power and pleasure does not make room for the smallest, for the unborn children, for the poor, the forgotten. I think above all of the children devoured by wars, poverty and injustice.”
On poverty, the Pope recalled the vocation “to have a Church that adores poor Jesus and serves Jesus in the poor.”
He then quotes the words of the assassinated and proclaimed Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Arnulfo Romero:
“The Church supports and blesses efforts to transform these structures of injustice and sets only one condition: that social, economic and political transformations lead to real benefit to the poor.”
The pope pointed out that it is not really Christmas without the poor.
“Christmas is celebrated without them, but not Christ’s feast. Brothers, sisters, at Christmas God is poor. May charity be reborn!” Pope warned.
On the other hand, the Pope asked for “a concrete faith, made of worship and love, and not of external words and phenomena.”
“Let’s not let Christmas pass by without doing something good. Since it is his party, his birthday, we have given him gifts that please him. On Christmas, God is concrete, and in his name we will revive a little hope for those who have lost him “said the Argentine pope.
On Sunday, Jorge Bergoglio will return to the window of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, as he did when he was elected pope in 2013, to read his Christmas message and give the traditional “Urbi and Urbi” (to the city and the world) blessing).
“Hardcore alcohol maven. Hipster-friendly analyst. Introvert. Devoted social media advocate.”