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Rome Reports

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Pope at Mass in Athens: Conversion requires changing our habitual worldview

About 1,000 people attended the Pope's Mass in the Megaron Concert Hall, whose capacity was restricted due to capacity during to Coronavirus measures. 

In his homily, Pope Francis considered the paradoxical image of John the Baptist, who humbly lead the way for Christ by preaching in the desert rather than from a place of fame and glory. 

"This paradoxical approach tells us something beautiful: that being powerful, well-educated or famous is no guarantee of pleasing God, for those things could actually lead to pride and to rejecting him. Instead, we need to be interiorly poor, just as the desert is poor."

To mark the second week of advent, the Pope went on to explain the significance of conversion as breaking free from usual ways of thinking. 

"To convert is to 'think beyond,' to go beyond our usual ways of thinking, beyond our habitual worldview. All those ways of thinking that reduce everything to ourselves, to our belief in our own self-sufficiency. Or those self-centered ways of thinking marked by rigidity and paralyzing fear, by the temptation to say 'we have always done it this way, why change?'"

The Archbishop of Athens, Theodoros Kontidis, thanked Pope Francis for his apostolic visit to Greece and commended the work he has done to promote ecumenism. 

Archbishop of Athens
"Your presence makes us feel and recognize that we are united with the universal Church as one body in Christ, with believers in every corner of the earth".

Pope Francis then gifted the Archbishop a chalice. 

He also took the opportunity to thank the Greek people for their hospitality during his visit and reflected on Greece's contributions to the Church.

"The Greek language gave to the entire Church the word that sums up the gift of Christ: “Eucaristia,” thanksgiving. For us Christians, thanksgiving is at the heart of our faith and life. May the Holy Spirit make of everything we are and everything we do a “Eucharist,” a thanksgiving to God and a gift of love to our brothers and sisters."

The Pope stopped to venerate an image of Our Lady before proceeding out while bearing a simple wooden crosier. 

It marks the end of his last full day in Greece before returning in Rome.