VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said Christmas is an occasion of joy but also a lesson in humility, when the faithful are called to imitate the example of God-made-man.
The pope made his remarks Dec. 18, during his weekly public audience in St. Peter’s Square.
“God abases himself, descends to earth as someone small and poor, which means that to be like him we should not put ourselves above others, but on the contrary, abase ourselves, give ourselves in service, make ourselves small with the small and poor with the poor,” he said.
“It is an ugly thing when one sees a Christian who will not abase himself, who will not serve, a Christian who struts about vainly everywhere,” Pope Francis added. “That is not Christian, that is pagan.”
A Christian is obliged to serve, the pope said, because the incarnation means God is to be found in every person.
“If God, through Jesus, involved himself with man to the point of becoming one of us, that means whatever we have done to a brother or sister we have done” to God, he said.
“The birth of Jesus is the evidence that God has taken man’s side once and for all, to save us, to raise us up from the dust of our miseries, our difficulties, our sins,” Pope Francis said.
Clad in a white overcoat and scarf in frigid but sunny weather, the pope led the crowd in twice calling out: “Jesus is God-with-us.”
He noted the “surprising” fact that God did not choose to become man “in an ideal, idyllic world, but in this real world, marked by so many good and evil things, marked by divisions, wickedness, poverty, arrogance and war.”
But “Christmas, the nativity of Jesus, (is) a feast of trust and hope, which overcomes uncertainty and pessimism,” Pope Francis said. “The earth is no longer only a vale of tears, it is the place where God himself raised his tent, the place of God’s encounter with man, of God’s solidarity with men.”
Greeting visitors from various linguistic groups after his audience talk, the pope noted the presence of members of Argentina’s San Lorenzo football team, of which he is a longtime fan. Following the audience, team representatives presented the pope with a replica of the national championship trophy they had won a few days earlier.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103