Pope: consumerism has kidnapped Christmas from us

In the last Angelus of Advent today, Pope Francis called on people to arrive at Christmas with a "pure heart", so that Christmas may be an occasion for renewal, for fraternity for everyone, "let us look at our brother who suffers, the one who suffers is Jesus, it is Jesus in the manger ”.


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Consumerism has kidnapped Christmas from us", the frenzy of shopping makes us forget the manger where Jesus was born, in which we can see every brother who is in need.  In the last Angelus of Advent today, Pope Francis called on people to arrive at Christmas with a "pure heart", with the same openess to God that Mary had, when she replied "fiat", "let it be" to the angel.

To the thousands of people present in St. Peter's Square for the prayer that recalls the "yes" of Mary, Francis therefore recommended that Christmas be an occasion for renewal, for fraternity, "let us look to the brother who suffers, the one who suffers is  Jesus, it is Jesus in the manger ”.  And "in this difficult time, instead of complaining about what the pandemic prevents us from doing, we should do something for those who have less: not yet another gift for us and for our friends, but for a needy person who no one thinks of".

Today's Gospel, the Pope recalled, re-proposes the story of the Annunciation with Mary's "yes".  "Certainly the divine message will have filled Mary's heart with light and strength", but not only, because the Law of Moses "established that there should be no relationships and cohabitation" before the wedding.  Therefore, having a child, Mary would have transgressed the Law, and she risked, as a woman, stoning.

Mary "was faced with a crucial choice: to say 'yes' to God risking everything, including life, or to decline the invitation and go on with her ordinary path.  What does she do?  She replies thus: "Let it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38).  Happen: it is the famous fiat of Maria.  But in the language in which the Gospel is written there is more.  The verbal expression indicates a strong desire, the firm will for something to happen.  In other words, Mary does not say: 'If it has to happen, let it happen ..., if it cannot be otherwise ...'.  No, she does not express a weak and submissive acceptance, but a strong and lively desire.  She is not passive, but active.  She does not suffer God, she adheres to God. She is a lover willing to serve her Lord in everything and immediately.  She could have asked for some time to think about it, or more explanations on what would have happened;  maybe put some conditions ... she Instead she doesn't take time, she doesn't keep God waiting, she doesn't postpone ”.

“Let's think about us now.  How often our life is made up of postponements, even in our spiritual life!  I know it does me good to pray, but today I don't have time;  I know helping someone is important, but today I can't.  I will do it tomorrow, that is never ".

"Today, at the gates of Christmas, Mary invites us not to postpone, to say 'yes'.  Every 'yes' costs, but always less than what that courageous and ready 'yes' cost her, that "may it happen to me according to your word" that brought us salvation ".

“Let it be done to me according to your word".  It is the last sentence of the Virgin on this last Sunday of Advent, and it is the invitation to take a concrete step towards Christmas.  Because if the birth of Jesus does not touch our life, it is spent in vain.  In the Angelus now we too will say 'may your word be fulfilled in me': may Our Lady help us to say it with our life ".

After the recitation of the Angelus, Francis launched an appeal to governments to help the more than 400,000 seafaring workers in the world to whom "the pandemic has caused particular discomfort", often due to their contracts not being renewed.