The holiday season is constantly regarded as one of the highest points of the retail industry. Shoppers are seen going in and out of malls and stores simply to make sure that the best gifts are chosen for their friends and family members. Parents check out almost every aisle of the toys' sections to guarantee that their children receive amazing presents for Christmas. Lovers rummage through countless places to see if they can find a romantic gift for their partners. At the end of the day, however, Pope Francis cautioned that the public might be forgetting the essence of the holiday.
In his homily (via Catholic Herald UK) during the eve of Christmas, the head of the Catholic church shared his concern over the increasing importance people place on consumerism. Pointing out the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, Pope Francis reminded everyone of the true essence of the holiday.
Citing Isaiah 9:1, Pope Francis urged the Christians around the world to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ. He shared that the time has come for the world to delight on "abundant joy" and "great rejoicing." The papal said that the promise of the Savior's coming has been fulfilled, thereby giving the world a glimpse of the gift from God. He also admonished skeptics as they simply blemish such joyous occasion. Instead, Pope Francis shared that the believers must focus on the good news and bask in the night as Jesus Christ "brings comfort to every 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," said Pope Francis. He added, "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)."
Pope Francis also rebuked the increasing popularity of material things among the members of the public. He disclosed his concerns over the need of Christians to spend and waste their time and energy on acquiring possessions. Given these issues, Pope Francis encouraged everyone to lead a simple and balanced life - one governed by love, peace and harmony. He sought the adherence of the Christians to veer away from getting "intoxicated" by the desire to accumulate things.
He said, "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." Pope Francis added, "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."