Thursday, December 24, 2015


Tornado warning has passed, but not wind, rain, thunder and lightening.

It's Christmas now at Saint Peter's as His Holiness celebrates Christmas Mass at night beginning at 10:30 PM their time, 3:30 PM here. Our first Mass is at 4:30 PM.

The Mass is in Latin and stunningly beautiful and the music splendid.

Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis

Christmas Midnight Mass
24 December 2015

Tonight “a great light” shines forth (Is 9:1); the light of Jesus’ birth shines all about us. How true and timely are the words of the prophet Isaiah which we have just heard: “You have brought abundant joy and great rejoicing” (9:2)! Our heart was already joyful in awaiting this moment; now that joy abounds and overflows, for the promise has been at last fulfilled. Joy and gladness are a sure sign that the message contained in the mystery of this night is truly from God. There is no room for doubt; let us leave that to the sceptics who, by looking to reason alone, never find the truth. There is no room for the indifference which reigns in the hearts of those unable to love for fear of losing something. All sadness has been banished, for the Child Jesus brings true comfort to every heart.

Today, the Son of God is born, and everything changes. The Saviour of the world comes to partake of our human nature; no longer are we alone and forsaken. The Virgin offers us her Son as the beginning of a new life. The true light has come to illumine our lives so often beset by the darkness of sin. Today we once more discover who we are! Tonight we have been shown the way to reach the journey’s end.

Now must we put away all fear and dread, for the light shows us the path to Bethlehem. We must not be laggards; we are not permitted to stand idle. We must set out to see our Saviour lying in a manger. This is the reason for our joy and gladness: this Child has been “born to us”; he was “given to us”, as Isaiah proclaims (cf. 9:5). The people who for two thousand years has traversed all the pathways of the world in order to allow every man and woman to share in this joy is now given the mission of making known “the Prince of peace” and becoming his effective servant in the midst of the nations.

So when we hear tell of the birth of Christ, let us be silent and let the Child speak. Let us take his words to heart in rapt contemplation of his face. If we take him in our arms and let ourselves be embraced by him, he will bring us unending peace of heart. This Child teaches us what is truly essential in our lives. He was born into the poverty of this world; there was no room in the inn for him and his family. He found shelter and support in a stable and was laid in a manger for animals. And yet, from this nothingness, the light of God’s glory shines forth. From now on, the way of authentic liberation and perennial redemption is open to every man and woman who is simple of heart. This Child, whose face radiates the goodness, mercy and love of God the Father, trains us, his disciples, as Saint Paul says, “to reject godless ways” and the richness of the world, in order to live “temperately, justly and devoutly” (Tit 2:12).

In a society so often intoxicated by consumerism and hedonism, wealth and extravagance, appearances and narcissism, this Child calls us to act soberly, in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential. In a world which all too often is merciless to the sinner and lenient to the sin, we need to cultivate a strong sense of justice, to discern and to do God’s will. Amid a culture of indifference which not infrequently turns ruthless, our style of life should instead be devout, filled with empathy, compassion and mercy, drawn daily from the wellspring of prayer.

Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we too, with eyes full of amazement and wonder, gaze upon the Child Jesus, the Son of God. And in his presence may our hearts burst forth in prayer: “Show us, Lord, your mercy, and grant us your salvation” (Ps 85:8).


Michael (Quicumque Vult) said...

This Mass was better than 95% of parish liturgies, to be sure. The Latin, the music, the Roman Canon, the setup of the altar - all excellent to see. Papal Masses, Deo gratias, still very much bear the mark of this Pope's predecessor. Sadly, after looking at some of them yesterday and remembering... I can't help but wonder what beautiful vestments Pope Benedict might have worn for a Mass like this. Somehow I feel like a nice Baroque-era chasuble and the Fanon wouldn't have been too much to expect.

Oh well. Thanks be to God that the Papal Mass has basically remained untouched since Francis ascended to the Chair of Peter. Merry Christmas, Father! I'll be at a High Mass in the EF myself at midnight, and I'll keep you in my prayers at that time.

And by the way: if you *do* choose the Roman Canon for your midnight Mass, think of me at the first "Memento," and a couple special intentions I have. :)

Anonymous said...

Father, I was still at work at 4:30, when the first Vigil Mass began. I thought to myself "how ridiculous to have a Vigil Mass so early!" This past week, I said to my wife that if I were a priest, I would celebrate four Masses for the Nativity of the Lord. The Vigil at 8 p.m., Mass at Midnight, Mass at Dawn at 8 a.m. and Mass during the Day at Noon. White vestments for the Vigil Mass and Gold for the other three. I would place all my emphasis on the three Christmas Day Masses. Also, with Saturday Vigil Masses, throughout the year, they begin no earlier than 7.p.m. Personally, I think people abuse the Vigil Mass concept. Not at all speaking of those who must work on Sundays and Holy Days, in order to take care of their families, therefore they must attend the Vigil Mass. How maƱy 4:30 Mass-goers will be working at Midnight tonight or between 8:00 and 11:00 a.m. Christmas morning.

Anonymous said...

Roman fiddleback vestments and fanons are not going to happen during this reign,soon very soon I pray. Same old ugly mitre and vestments oh brother.

Rood Screen said...


Why are you attached to such trivial things, especially on Christmas? Why not be joyful!