During the homily of the Missa do Gallo celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica this Saturday, Pope Francis warned of humanity’s insatiability of money, power and pleasure.
Today Pope Francis celebrated the traditional Midnight Mass at 7:30pm (6:30pm Lisbon time) as last year, but because of a knee problem he sat on one side of the altar and Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re celebrated the Eucharist.
A deacon held out an image of the baby Jesus for the Pope, while children from around the world laid flowers beside him and bells rang to announce Jesus’ birth in St. Peter’s Square.
In front of the seven thousand people who filled the basilica, and another three thousand waiting outside in the square, in a ceremony broadcast by Mundovisión, he criticized, “After many Christmases celebrated with ornaments and gifts, after too much consumerism, the mystery of remembrance (…) has forgotten the meaning”.
The Pope sat down and read the homily, saying the three words “intimacy, poverty and steadfastness” would inspire the Nativity scene.
Regarding proximity, the Pope said that “the flower brings food closer to the mouth and helps it to be consumed quickly” and that “it may symbolize an aspect of humanity: the frenzy of consumption.”
“For as animals in stables devour food, men of the world, hungry for power and money, devour their neighbors and brothers in the same way,” Francis said:
“How many wars! And in many places, even today, dignity and freedom are trampled underfoot. And the victims of human madness are always the weakest, the weakest”.
“This Christmas, as it happened with Jesus, a humanity that is not satisfied with money, power and pleasure will not give way to the little, the unborn, the poor, the forgotten. I think more than all the children swallowed up by wars. Poverty and injustice”, he lamented.
Regarding poverty, the Pope recalled the call to “be a Church that worships Jesus the poor and serves Jesus to the poor.”
He then quoted the words of the martyred and consecrated Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Arnulfo Romero:
“The Church supports and blesses efforts to change these structures of injustice and sets only one condition: social, economic and political changes that result in real benefit to the poor”.
The Pope recalled that it would not really be Christmas without the poor.
“Christmas is celebrated without them, but not with Jesus. Brothers and sisters, at Christmas, God is poor. Let charity be reborn!”, the Pope instructed.
On the other hand, the Pope asked for “a firm faith, composed of worship and charity, not of words and externals”.
“This Christmas should not pass without doing good, because it is his feast, his birthday, so we gave him dear gifts. The God of Christmas is steadfast, and in his name we are going to renew a little hope in them. Who lost it,” said the Argentine pontiff.
George Bergoglio will return to the window of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Sunday, as he did when he was elected pope in 2013, to read the Christmas message and offer the traditional “urbi et rbi” (to the city and to the world. ) blessing ).