To keep watch, to set out, to risk, to recount the beauty: These are the acts of love reflected in the Nativity story, said Pope Francis during the Christmas Vigil Mass at the Vatican in Rome on Monday night.
The pope invited the world’s Christians to return to Bethlehem, considered the birthplace of Jesus, to rediscover the mystery of Christmas as a turning point that alters the course of history. A return to that simplicity is sorely needed in today’s world, he said.
“In our day, for many people, life’s meaning is found in possessing, in having an excess of material objects,” Francis said in his message at St. Peter’s Basilica. “An insatiable greed marks all human history, even today, when, paradoxically, a few dine luxuriantly while all too many go without the daily bread needed to survive.”
The connection to Bethlehem, the “house of bread” in Hebrew, should bring the world closer to a spirit of community that rejects material exploitation and follows Christ’s example to nourish each other.
“Tonight, as we hear the summons to go up to Bethlehem, the house of bread, let us ask ourselves: What is the bread of my life, what is it that I cannot do without? Is it the Lord, or something else?” the pontiff said. “Let us ask ourselves: Do I really need all these material objects and complicated recipes for living? Can I manage without all these unnecessary extras and live a life of greater simplicity?”
A copy of the full text of Pope Francis’ homily is available at this Vatican link.
Image: Vatican Media Live