Pope Francis message during Christmas: A life of greater simplicity and forgiveness
During his homily on Christmas Eve Pope Francis spoke about the need for everyone to strive toward living a life of greater simplicity.
He reflected on how Christ shows the way to overcome the excessive consumerism and selfishness that is ever present in society today.
“The tiny Child of Bethlehem speaks to us of a new way to live our lives: not by devouring and hoarding, but by sharing and giving. Standing before the manger, we understand that the food of life is not material riches, but love; not gluttony, but charity; not ostentation, but simplicity.”
The pope also added that one cannot await Christ lying on a couch, sleeping. However, like the Shepherds, who left their flock to see Baby Jesus, one must “set out, to risk, to recount the beauty.”
The following day, as is tradition, the pope also gave his Urbi et Orbi message and blessing for the whole world. Pope Francis expressed that his wish for Christmas was for greater fraternity.
“Fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture. Fraternity among people with different ideas, yet capable of respecting and listening to one another. Fraternity among persons of different religions. Jesus came to reveal the face of God to all those who seek him.”
Pope Francis asked for Israel and Palestine to “resume dialogue and undertake a journey of peace” in order to put an end to a 70 year conflict in the Holy Land.
He also asked for greater international assistance to help bring peace, political and socially, to countries such as Syria, Yemen and Africa; and encouraged the work toward reconciliation in the Korean peninsula, Venezuela as well as Nicaragua in bringing about greater unity.
The pope reiterated this message of forgiveness also during his Angelus the day after Christmas. He used the example of St. Stephen whose feast day it was and who was the first Christian martyr.
“We are called to learn from him to forgive, to always forgive, and it is not easy to do, we all know. Forgiveness enlarges the heart, generates sharing, gives serenity and peace.”
He said this forgiveness must be cultivated through prayer. This is because St. Stephen was able to forgive his killers because he was filled with the Holy Spirit and had his eyes directed toward God.