Friday, July 1

The Pope asks that we renounce “complaints and long faces”

The Vatican



This year Francisco celebrated the Christmas Eve mass before about 1,500 pilgrims, many more than the two hundred of last year, in one of the most critical phases of the pandemic and without obligation to be vaccinated against the coronavirus disease. The Pope, who turned 85 a week ago, followed the solemn rite that begins in the Vatican with the “calenda”, an ancient song that marks the last moment of the Advent period and announces the beginning of Christmas.

The long song culminates with the symbolic lighting of the entire St. Peter’s Basilica, the ringing of the bells, and a tender gesture from the pope, which raises a white veil that covers a life-size sculpture of the Child Jesus.

In his homily, he recalled the scene in Bethlehem, “where there is nothing great, just a poor child wrapped in swaddling clothes, with some shepherds around him.” But «in that littleness is God. Smallness is the path he chose to reach us, to touch our hearts, to save us and redirect us towards what is really important ».

A few meters from the sculpture of the Child Jesus, and looking askance, Francisco continued: «He who embraces the universe needs to be held in his arms. He, who has made the sun, needs to be clothed. Cuteness in person needs to be pampered. Infinite love has a tiny heart, which emits light beats. The eternal Word is infant, that is, incapable of speaking. The Bread of Life must be fed. The creator of the world is homeless. Today everything is reversed: God comes to the small world. His greatness is offered in smallness ».

“Inner smallness”

Francis reflected on the paradox of the Child Jesus, also for Christians. «He makes himself small in the eyes of the world and we continue to seek greatness according to the world, perhaps even in his name. God comes down and we want to go up on the pedestal. The Most High indicates humility and we intend to shine. God goes in search of the shepherds, the invisible ones; we seek visibility. Jesus is born to serve and we spend the years pursuing success ».

Showing himself as a child, God remembers that “he does not seek strength and power, but asks for tenderness and inner smallness”, which is “the way to true greatness.”

The invitation in Bethlehem to “littleness” means that “God wants to come in the little things in our life, he wants to inhabit everyday realities, the simple gestures that we carry out at home, in the family, at school, at work. He wants to do extraordinary things in our ordinary life ».

“Jesus invites us to value and rediscover the little things in life,” he recalled. «Let us leave behind the regrets for the greatness that we do not have. Let us renounce the complaints and long faces, the ambition that leaves us unsatisfied, “proposed Francisco.

According to the Pope, the story of Bethlehem especially teaches the great value that each person has for God. «If, as in Bethlehem, the darkness of the night surrounds you, if you notice a cold indifference around you, if the wounds that you carry inside yell at you:” You count for little, you are worth nothing, you will never be loved as you yearn for “, tonight God gives you an answer, “said the Pope.

«Tonight he tells you: ‘I love you just as you are. Your littleness does not scare me, your frailties do not bother me. I made myself small for you. To be your God I became your brother. Beloved brother, beloved sister, do not be afraid of me, find your greatness in me again. I am here for you and I only ask that you trust me and open my heart ».

The Pope also asked to translate the good feelings of these days into concrete gestures, “to embrace Jesus in the little ones of today; love him in the last, serve him in the poor. They are the ones who most resemble Jesus, who was born poor and in them God wants to be honored.

“May a single fear invade us in this night of love: to hurt God’s love by despising the poor with our indifference.” “Let us take care of Jesus now, caressing him in those in need, because he identified himself in them,” he asked.

«Let’s go back to Bethlehem»

Francisco explained that the angel gave the news of the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, who were working, and that like that of so many professionals, “his life did not have schedules, but depended on the flocks.”

«Tonight, God comes to fill with dignity the hard work. It reminds us how important it is to give dignity to man with work, but also to give dignity to man’s work, because man is master and not slave of work. On the Day of Life we ​​repeat: No more deaths at work! And let’s strive to achieve it, “he asked in reference to workplace accidents.

“Let’s go back to Bethlehem, let’s go back to the origins: to the essentials of faith, first love, adoration and charity,” Francis concluded.

“May God grant us to be an adoring, poor and fraternal Church” and “let us rejoice together, because no one will ever be able to extinguish this light, the light of Jesus, which shines in the world from tonight.”

The entire Papal Chapel participated in the mass, which adds up up to 120 concelebrating priests. At the end, the Pope carried the figure of the Child Jesus in his arms to the Nativity in one of the Vatican chapels. Children from various countries accompanied him as they sang a Christmas carol.

During the Eucharist, everyone wore the masks, which made it possible for more people to attend. Last year only about 200 pilgrims were able to attend the Pope’s mass. This year at least 1,500 invitations were distributed, still few if one considers that the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican has a capacity for 20,000 people and the capacity allowed inside has been significantly reduced to face the new health situation caused by the Omicrom variant.

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