-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Pope Francis Invites Residence Personnel To Morning Mass on His Birthday
Four Homeless People Also in Attendance at Mass
VATICAN CITY, December 17, 2013 (Zenit.org) - Celebrating his 77th birthday today, Pope Francis invited the personnel of his residence at Casa Santa Marta to his daily morning Mass.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, concelebrated with the Holy Father. Also present was Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the Vatican Secretary of State, who sent wellwishes to the Pope from the Secretariat of State.
The Holy Father reflected on the Gospel of the day, which recounted the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Though some may think that the passage reads like a telephone directory, Pope Francis said that it raises an important argument.
"It is pure history, because God, as Pope St. Leo said, God has sent his Son," the Holy Father said. "And Jesus is consubstantial to the Father, God, but also consubstantial to the Mother, a woman. And this is that consubstantiality of the Mother. God has made Himself history. God has wished to make himself history. He is with us. He has walked the path with us."
After the sin of Adam and Eve in Paradise, he continued, God decided to begin this path through history with us, beginning with Abraham. God has wished to make this history with us, a history that has both holiness and sin. The list of people in the genealogy of Christ contains not only saints, but also "high level sinners - sinners," he noted, "who have not responded to everything that God thought for them."
"Let us think of Solomon, so great, so intelligent, and he ends up poor, there, where he didn't know his own name! But God was with him. This is beautiful, no?," he said.
"God is consubstantial with us. He makes history with us. And more: when God wants to say who he is, he says 'I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac and Jacob.' But what is the last name of God? It is us, each one of us. He takes from us our name, to make it his last name. 'I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Pedro, of Marietta, of Armony, of Marisa, of Simone, of everyone!' From us he takes his last name. The last name of God is each and every one of us."
The Pope went on to say that God, in his humility, patience and love, has allowed us to write this history of grace and sin, yet always present with us. God's joy, he said, is to share his life with us.
"As Christmas approaches," he concluded, "you come to think: 'if He has made His history with us, if He has taken his last name from us, if He let us write His history, let us at least let Him write our history.' And this is a Christmas greeting for all of us. That the Lord writes your history and that you let Him write it."
After the Mass, Pope Francis greeted all who attended the Mass. Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, Almoner to His Holiness, presented four homeless people who live nearby the Vatican to the Holy Father. All present wished the Pope a happy birthday and shortly after the Mass, joined him for breakfast. (J.A.E.)
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