Pope Francis Holiday Messages
“Yet these wise men from far-off lands were able to look beyond those lowly surroundings and recognize in that Child a royal presence. They were able to “see” beyond appearances. Falling to their knees before the Babe of Bethlehem, they expressed a worship that was above all interior: the opening of the treasures they had brought as gifts symbolized the offering of their own hearts.” ~ Pope Francis Homily on the Epiphany 2021
During his homily on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, our Holy Father calls us all to be like the magi: to lift up our eyes, set on a journey, and to see the invisible this coming year.
God came among us in poverty and need, to tell us that in serving the poor, we will show our love for him. ~ Pope Francis Christmas Eve Homily 2020
Stargazers around the world were blessed this holiday season to witness the rare astronomical event of Jupiter and Saturn moving closer together in alignment, known as the “Great Conjunction.” Many believe this so-called “Christmas Star” is similar to the phenomenon seen by the Magi at Jesus’ birth. Yet with such a magnificent symbol in the sky to mark the birth of a king, one might wonder: Why was our Savior born in a humble stable, in a lowly manger––among the animals? Pope Francis had the answer during his Christmas Eve Homily, saying:
“that manger, poor in everything, yet rich in love, teaches that the true nourishment in life comes from letting ourselves be loved by God and loving others in turn.”
Our Holy Father believes the stable holds an important lesson for all of us, noting that “Bethlehem means house of Bread in Hebrew.” And just as the Son of God came to feed the world from a manger, so many volunteers have also come forth in different ways to help feed hungry families at community food distributions. In this spirit of giving, he offered a Christmas eve prayer:
“May the Child of Bethlehem help us, then, to be generous, supportive and helpful, especially towards those who are vulnerable, the sick, those unemployed or experiencing hardship due to the economic effects of the pandemic.”
In his annual Urbi et Orbi message to the world on Christmas Day, Pope Francis also pointed out the importance of including the least among us.
“At Christmas we celebrate the light of Christ who comes into the world; he comes for everyone, not just for some. Today, in this time of darkness and uncertainty regarding the pandemic, various lights of hope appear, such as the discovery of vaccines. But for these lights to illuminate and bring hope to all, they need to be available to all . . . This Child, Jesus, was born ‘to us’: an ‘us’ without any borders, privileges or exclusions.”
God came into the world as a child to make us all children of God, “brothers and sisters all”–– repeating a recent papal encyclical theme of Fratelli Tutti.
“Thanks to this Child, all of us can speak to God and call him Father … we can all call one another brothers and sisters, for so we truly are.”
Our Holy Father asked us to remember the plight of migrants and refugees, who, like the vulnerable Holy Family, were also forced to flee their homes.
“In the face of a challenge that knows no borders, we cannot erect walls. All of us are in the same boat. Every other person is my brother or my sister. In everyone, I see reflected the face of God, and in those who suffer, I see the Lord pleading for my help. I see him in the sick, the poor, the unemployed, the marginalized, the migrant and the refugee: brothers and sisters all!”
Pope Francis has previously expressed this theme many times, as reflected in the prayer on the holiday card from the Vatican Section on Migrants and Refugees, which he personally directs.
God loves us all…so let us show our love for him by showing love and being gifts to others. Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!