Saturday, January 28, 2023

Pope on Christmas: We must remember that Jesus was born poor

VATICAN CITY ( Associated Press) — Pope Francis recalled on Christmas that Jesus was born in a stable and criticized those “thirsty” for accumulating wealth and power at the expense of the poor.

At his home in St Peter’s Basilica, Francis presided over a crowd of some 7,000 faithful, including tourists and pilgrims.

The Pontiff asked to learn a lesson from the humility of Jesus who was born poor in a manger.

“Where animals graze in their captivity, in our world men and women, in their thirst for wealth and power, devour even their neighbors, their brothers and sisters,” the Pope lamented. “How many wars have we seen! And in how many places even today human dignity and freedom are disrespected!

“As always, the main victims of this human greed are the weak and vulnerable,” said Francisco, who did not mention any particular conflict or situation.

“This Christmas too, as it happened with Jesus, there is no place for little children, the unborn, the poor and the forgotten, in a world thirsty for money, power and pleasure,” the Pope continued in his own voice. Whatever seemed weak or tired “I am thinking above all of the children who suffer from war, poverty and injustice.”

Still, the Pontiff encouraged everyone not to lose hope.

“Don’t be overwhelmed by fear, resignation or despair,” the Pope said.

He said that the fact that Jesus was born in a manger shows “where the true wealth of life lies: not in money or power but in relationships and people.”

Underlining the rampant consumerism that shrouds the mystery of Christmas, Francis said the meaning of the day is in danger of being forgotten.

But, he said, Christmas “focuses attention on the problem of our humanity: the indifference fueled by greed and to consume.”

“Dear brothers, dear sisters, at Christmas, let us remember that God is poor. Charity can be reborn,” said the Pope, “do not allow this Christmas to pass without doing one good deed.”

When the mass ended, the Pope, pushed in a wheelchair by an aide, made his way through the basilica with a life-size statue of the baby Jesus on his lap and was flanked by many children carrying bouquets of flowers. The statue was then placed in a manger in the basilica.

Francisco, 86, uses a wheelchair to travel long distances and a cane for short distances due to knee ligament pain.

Traditionally, Catholics celebrate Christmas Eve by attending Mass at midnight. But over the years, the start time at the Vatican has been brought forward, reflecting the health or flexibility of the pope, and then pandemics.

Two years ago, the start of the Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica was moved to 7:30 p.m. to allow worshipers to go home before the nightly curfew imposed by the Italian government as a measure to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Get permission. , Although almost all restrictions brought on by the pandemic had been lifted in Italy long ago, the measure was upheld by the Vatican.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of Romans, tourists and pilgrims are expected to gather in St Peter’s Square to watch Pope Francis deliver a speech on world issues and give his blessing. The speech, known in Latin as “Urbi et Orbi” (for the city and the world), is usually an occasion to address crises such as war, oppression and famine that are occurring in different parts of the world. .

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Associated Press writer Luigi Navarra contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
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