On Dec. 24, 2016, Pope Francis spoke live from the Vatican, where he held Midnight Mass. The service lasted nearly two hours, and you can see photos and the full video below. The Midnight Mass was translated into English during the live service as well as online. You may read the full transcript in English at the Vatican’s English news site. In the Christmas Eve mass, Pope Francis encouraged believers to be “challenged by the child in the manger.” You may watch the full Midnight Mass of Christmas with English interpretation in the video player below.
Here is a portion of the official translation of Pope Francis’ Midnight Mass homily that refers to Jesus Christ as the light of the world, and how we are to be challenged by the child in the manger.
“Let us allow the Child in the manger to challenge us, but let us also allow ourselves to be challenged by the children of today’s world, who are not lying in a cot caressed with the affection of a mother and father, but rather suffer the squalid “mangers that devour dignity”: hiding underground to escape bombardment, on the pavements of a large city, at the bottom of a boat overladen with immigrants. Let us allow ourselves to be challenged by the children who are not allowed to be born, by those who cry because no one satiates their hunger, by those who do have not toys in their hands, but rather weapons.”
“The mystery of Christmas, which is light and joy, questions and unsettles us, because it is at once both a mystery of hope and of sadness. It bears within itself the taste of sadness, inasmuch as love is not received, and life discarded. This happened to Joseph and Mary, who found the doors closed, and placed Jesus in a manger, “because there was no place for them in the inn” (v. 7). Jesus was born rejected by some and regarded by many others with indifference. Today also the same indifference can exist, when Christmas becomes a feast where the protagonists are ourselves, rather than Jesus; when the lights of commerce cast the light of God into the shadows; when we are concerned for gifts but cold towards those who are marginalized.”
The Pope also touched upon the materialistic aspect of Christmas and how people can become so focused on receiving gifts, they lose sight of the gift of Christ and how to share God’s love to those who need it most.
The Vatican shared official photos from the Midnight Mass held on Dec. 24, in Vatican City, Rome. You may see the first and second sets of photos below.
Following the Midnight Mass was the Christmas Message and Urbi et Orbi blessing that the Pope bestows upon Rome and the world. Pope Francis delivered the Christmas Message at 12 p.m., as is the Catholic tradition. You may see the full video of the Christmas Message and Urbi et Orbi blessing below. Like the Midnight Mass, the Vatican provided an English translation of the full homily. The Pope specifically addressed how peace on earth is more than a catchphrase, but something that is supposed to be experienced on a global basis now that man understands the gift of Christmas is the gift of love. He spoke about Syria and Aleppo, Israel, Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Yemen, parts of Africa including Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eastern Ukraine, Colombia, Myanmar, Venezuela, and Korea. Pope Franci issued a blessing of peace to the world, to children and to the forgotten victims suffering.
The Vatican shared photos from the Urbi et Orbi Christmas blessing. You may see those photos below.
Pope Francis will continue with several live streams from the Octave of Christmas culminating with the Angelus prayer from St. Peter’s Basilica on New Year’s Day. Did you watch the Midnight Mass, Christmas Message, and Urbi et Orbi live streaming?
[Featured Image by Franco Origlia/Getty Images]