Pope Francis on Friday invited the faithful to « love smallness » in a new plea for humility during the traditional Christmas night mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Some 2,000 people, according to the Vatican press room, attended the celebration, masked and seated at a distance from each other.
Ambassadors and representatives of other Christian denominations also attended the ceremony, celebrated in several languages in the presence of more than 200 priests, bishops and cardinals, also masked. A few dozen people who did not obtain a ticket followed the mass outside, on St. Peter’s Square, via giant screens.
In his homily, the 85-year-old Argentine pontiff made a plea for humility, inviting the faithful to “love smallness” and “rediscover the little things in life” and insisting on the reversal of hierarchies.
Second mass at the time of the Covid
Calling on the Church to be “poor and fraternal”, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, tireless defender of the most vulnerable, once again warned against “indifference” in the face of poverty. “Jesus, at his birth, is surrounded by the little ones, the poor (…) near the forgotten on the peripheries, where human dignity is put to the test,” he stressed. “Let us leave behind the regrets of this greatness that we do not have. Let us give up the complaints and the sad faces, the greed which leaves us dissatisfied ”, launched François under the canopy designed by Bernini.
“God sets out in search of shepherds, of the invisible; we are looking for visibility. Jesus is born to serve, and we spend our time chasing success. God does not seek strength and power, he asks for tenderness and inner littleness, ”he added.
The Pope also called for « to give dignity to the work of man, because man is lord and not slave of work ». “No more deaths at work! And let’s commit to that, ”he said.
This is the second consecutive Christmas mass in times of Covid. As of 2020, only 200 people – mostly employees of the tiny Vatican state – had been able to attend mass due to the restrictions. On Thursday, the Pope had already called on the Roman Curia to show “humility” and “sobriety” and to flee “worldliness” and “pride” during his traditional Christmas greetings.