VATICAN CITY (CNS) – With the birth of Jesus, God became flesh to share the joys and sorrows, hopes and fears of all people, especially the poor and people who live every day in danger, said Pope Francis in his Christmas message.
“He comes across as a helpless child. He was born on a cold night, poor to the poor. Lacking everything, he knocks on the door of our hearts to find warmth and shelter,” the pope said on December 25 before giving his blessing ” urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world).
Tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square under the warm sky and the sun for the blessing and for the message of the pope inviting people not to listen to the gifts and more of the prayer, that is for Ukraine and as well as other places where war and conflict are fought against angels. ‘ campaign for “peace on earth.”
“Let’s leave the booze and the fun that kills our hearts and spend more time preparing decorations and gifts than thinking about the big event: the child of the God was born for us,” said Pope Francis to the people on the public stage and the audience. on the radio or watching it on television or on the internet.
“Brothers and sisters,” he said to them, “let us turn our eyes to Bethlehem, and listen to the first voice of the King of Peace. Because Jesus is our refuge.
The creation, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus “opened the way to lead from a world closed in on itself and oppressed by the dark shadows of hatred and war , to a free and open world to live in harmony and peace.” said the pope.
To follow the path of peace of Jesus, he said, “we must separate ourselves from the things that weigh us down and block our way,” which are obstacles that prevent to king Herod from the reception of the birth of Jesus: “afflicted with power and money, pride, hypocrisy, deceit.
On the “small and innocent face” of the baby Jesus lying in the manger, he urged, “let us see the faces of all those children, everywhere of the world longs for peace.”
In his 10th Christmas address as pope, Pope Francis denounced the “great hunger for peace” around the world.
Speaking of hot spots, he began with Ukraine, praying for those who celebrate Christmas “in the dark and cold, far from their homes because of the destruction by 10 months of war.”
The pope urged people to continue to be generous in giving donations and welcoming those displaced by the conflict. His almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, is spending Christmas in Ukraine, giving tools and warm clothes and other help in the name of the pope.
May God “enlighten the minds of those who have the power to silence the thunder of weapons and end this senseless war soon,” he prayed.
And while Ukraine dominates the news, Pope Francis also prayed for peace in Syria, Yemen, Myanmar and in the Sahel region of Africa.
Turning to the Holy Land, “where in recent months violence and conflicts have increased, bringing death and injury in their path,” he prayed ” there, in the land that saw his birth, dialogue and efforts to build mutual trust between Israelis and Israelis. The Palestinians can continue.”
In Lebanon, where the economic and political crisis continues, the pope prayed that the country could “rebound with the help of the international community and the strength born of friendship and unity.”
In the United States and South America, where the “political and social situation” continues in many countries, the pope prays for the light of Christ to strengthen political leaders and all people good intentions.
And he offered special prayers for “the people of Haiti who have suffered for a long time.”
Knowing that many people in St. Peter’s Square and looking around the world to soon live a joyful and large feast, Pope Francis asked them to remember “all the people, especially children, who are hungry for a lot of food in every day. will be destroyed, and resources are being destroyed in weapons.
Russia’s war on Ukraine, a major supplier of grain for the world, is putting entire nations on the brink of starvation, he said, condemning the use of food as a weapon.
Unfortunately, he said, like 2,000 years ago, “Jesus, the true light, came to a sick world unexpectedly – a terrible disease – a world that did not welcome him and really reject it, like many foreigners, or ignore it, as we often do with the poor.
Pope Francis prayed that this Christmas “we will not forget the many evacuees and refugees who knock on our doors in search of comfort, warmth and food. Let us not forget those alienated, those who live alone, orphans and the elderly who are threatened with alienation, and prisoners, whom we only think of for the crimes they have committed and not as our fellow men and women.