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Pope Says Commercial Interests Have ‘Taken Christmas Hostage’

REUTERS/Max Rossi/File Photo

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

Pope Francis warned that materialism and commercial interests have “taken Christmas hostage” during the annual Christmas Eve mass at Saint Peter’s Bascilica in Rome Saturday evening.

The 80-year-old pontiff told an audience of thousands in Rome and millions worldwide that if we want to celebrate the Christmas season as it was originally intended, “we need to contemplate this sign — the fragile simplicity of a small newborn, the meekness of where he lies, the tender affection of the swaddling clothes. God is there.”

The pope reminded us that Jesus was not born in a palace among royal company, nor was he born into considerable fortune or social status. “With this sign the Gospel reveals a paradox: it speaks of the emperor, the governor, the mighty of those times, but God does not make himself present there; he does not appear in the grand hall of a royal palace, but in the poverty of a stable; not in pomp and show, but in the simplicity of life; not in power, but in a smallness which surprises.”

The pontiff added in remarks during his homily Saturday evening: “This worldliness has taken Christmas hostage. It needs to be freed.” Americans spent an average of $830 on Christmas gifts in 2015, Gallup reports

The pope reminded those watching that Christmas should be a call to denounce consumerism, and truly reflect on the meaning of Christ. “The Child who is born challenges us: he calls us to leave behind fleeting illusions and go to the essence, to renounce our insatiable claims, to abandon our endless dissatisfaction and sadness for something we will never have.  It will help us to leave these things behind in order to rediscover in the simplicity of the God-child, peace, joy and the meaning of life.

“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,” added the pope.

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