On Friday, Pope Francis, who is guiding the world’s Roman Catholics into Christmas, warned that those who are apathetic to the poor offend God, imploring everyone to “look beyond all the lights and decorations” and remember the poorest.
Francis said a solemn vigil Mass for roughly 2,000 people in St. Peter’s Basilica, ushering in the ninth Christmas of his papacy, with participation limited by COVID-19 to about a quarter of the scale of pre-pandemic years.
Italy revealed a second consecutive day tally of COVID-19 cases minutes before the Christmas Eve Mass began, with new infections reaching 50,599.
Francis, dressed in white, focused his homily on the fact that Jesus was born with nothing.
“Brothers and sisters, while we stand in front of the crib, we consider what is most important, despite the lovely lights and decorations. We think about the child “He mentioned this in the homily of the Mass, which was attended by almost 200 cardinals, bishops, and priests. Except for him, everyone was wearing a mask.
Francis, who celebrated his 85th birthday last week, said the poor baby Jesus should remind people that serving others is more essential than pursuing prestige or social visibility or spending a career pursuing success.
Francis, who has made the defence of the poor a cornerstone of his pontificate, said, “It is through them (the poor) that he wishes to be honoured.”
“May we have only one dread on this night of love: violating God’s love and hurting him by despising the poor with our indifference. They are dear to Jesus, and one day they will greet us in heaven “he stated
“Who has found the heaven – below – will fail of it above,” he said, quoting Emily Dickinson, and adding in his own words, “Let us not lose sight of heaven; let us care for Jesus now, stroking him in the needy, since in them he makes himself known.”
Francis noted that workers – the shepherds – were the first to glimpse the baby Jesus in Bethlehem, and that labour must be treated with dignity, lamenting the fact that many people die in workplace accidents around the world.
“Let us reiterate on this Day of Life: no more workplace deaths! And let us make a commitment to ensuring that this happens “he stated
The International Labour Organization (ILO) of the United Nations estimates that over a million people die at work every year.
Francis will offer his twice-yearly “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing and message from St. Peter’s Basilica’s central balcony on Saturday.
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