On the evening of Christmas Eve, Pope francesco celebrates Mass from the altar of the confession of the Basilica of Saint Peter. And during the homily he dwells on the massacre of the deaths at work, more than a thousand in 2021 in Italy. At the end of the Mass, however, he took the Baby Jesus and, surrounded by children with flowers, he set out in procession along the nave to the Basilica’s Nativity scene. The ministering deacon placed the baby in the cradle while children placed the flowers at the nativity scene. Then the Pope incensed him. In front of Michelangelo’s Pietà, before leaving, the Pope finally greeted the children.
“No more deaths at work”
«Jesus was born there, close to the shepherds, close to the forgotten of the peripheries. It comes where the dignity of man is tested. He comes to ennoble the excluded and reveals himself above all to them: not to cultured and important personalities, but to poor people who worked. Tonight God comes to fill the hardness of work with dignity – the Pope said -. 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 a lord and not a slave to work. On the day of life we repeat: no more deaths at work! And let’s commit ourselves to this ».
Then he continues: «Let’s look again at the crib and we see that Jesus at birth is surrounded by the little ones, by the poor – the Pontiff underlined -. Who I am? The shepherds. They were the simplest and were the closest to the Lord. They found him because, spending the night in the open, they kept watch all night keeping watch over their flock ». «They were there to work, because they were poor and their life did not have timetables, but depended on the flock – Francis recalled -. They could not live how and where they wanted, but they regulated themselves according to the needs of the sheep they looked after ».
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“Never again greed and grievances”
«Here is what to ask of Jesus for Christmas: the grace of littleness – Pope Francis said in the course of his homily – Lord, teach us to love littleness. Help us understand that it is the way to true greatness. But what does it mean, concretely, to welcome smallness? First of all it means believing that God wants to come into the little things of our life, he wants to live in everyday realities, the simple gestures we make at home, in the family, at school, at work. It is in our ordinary life that he wants to achieve extraordinary things ».
«And it is a message of great hope – the Pontiff underlined – Jesus invites us to value and rediscover the little things in life. If He is there with us, what are we missing? So let us leave behind the regrets for the greatness that we do not have. Let’s renounce complaints and long faces, greed that leaves us unsatisfied! ».
“Here is the message: God does not ride greatness, but descends into littleness”, Francis said again. “Smallness is the way he has chosen to reach us, to touch our hearts, to save us and bring us back to what matters,” he explained. «Brothers, sisters – the Pontiff exhorted -, stopping in front of the crib we look at the center: we go beyond the lights and decorations, which are beautiful, and we contemplate the Child. In his littleness there is all God. Let’s recognize him: “Child, You are God, God-child” ».
«Let us allow ourselves to be crossed by this scandalous amazement – he continued -. He who embraces the universe needs to be held in his arms. He, who made the sun, must be warmed. Tenderness itself needs to be pampered. Infinite love has a tiny heart, which emits soft beats. The eternal Word is infant, that is, unable to speak. The Bread of life must be fed. The creator of the world is homeless ». According to the Pope, «today everything is reversed: God comes into the small world. Its greatness offers itself in smallness. And we – let us ask ourselves – do we know how to welcome this way of God? It is the challenge of Christmas – he underlined -: God reveals himself, but men do not understand him. 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 “
Last updated: Saturday 25 December 2021, 00:48
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Christmas Mass, Pope Francis: “Give dignity to work, no more deaths”