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The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus

Solemnity - 25th December - Christmas
3rd Joyful Mystery of the Rosary

Our Holy Father celebrates Midnight Mass in St Peter's Basilica each Christmas, giving a blessing to the world (Urbi et Orbi) at midday from the central loggia. Papa Benedetto gave his encyclical God is Love on Christmas Day 2005.

Pope Francis's words at Christmas in: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 & 2013
Papa Benedict XVI's words at Christmas in: 20122011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 & 2005.
St John Paul II's words at Christmas in: 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1985, 1984, 1983, 1982, 1981, 1980, 1979 & 1978.

Pope Francis's Homily at Christmas Midnight Mass 2013      
Papa Benedict XVI's Homily at Midnight Mass, Year of Faith 2012     
St John Paul II's Homily at Midnight Mass, Great Jubilee 2000      

3 2us with Fr David Barnes      
"Christmas tells me so much about myself, about being a human being... it tells me that I am infinitely loveable to God."

Evangelium with Fr Marcus Holden            
"In this little child, God gives us the greatest gift in the world: the gift of Himself.
"We're made for the lights of eternity, we're made for God."

Evangelium with Fr Andrew Pinsent  
"They've come to gaze on the face of God, God-made-Man for our salvation."

To download the free mp3 Totus2us audio recordings, right/double click on the play buttons.

Pope Francis's Catechesis on the Birth of the Lord Jesus
General Audience, Wednesday 27 December 2017, in St Peter's Square - in Arabic, English, Croatian, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today I would like to reflect with you on the meaning of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus, which in these days we are living in faith and in celebrations.

The construction of the Nativity scene and, above all, the liturgy, with its biblical Readings and its traditional hymns, have enabled us to relive “this day” in which to us “is born ... a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:11).

In our day, especially in Europe, we are witnessing a type of “distortion” of Christmas: in the name of a false respect which is not Christian, which often hides the wish to marginalize faith, all reference to Christ’s birth is eliminated from the holiday. But in reality, this event is the only true Christmas! Without Jesus there is no Christmas; there is another holiday, but not Christmas. And if he is at the centre, then all the trimmings, that is, the lights, sounds, various local traditions, including the characteristic foods, all contribute to creating an atmosphere of celebration, but with Jesus at the centre. If we remove him, the light goes out and everything becomes feigned, illusory.

Through the message of the Church, we, as the shepherds of the Gospel (cf. Lk 2:9), are led to seek out and find the true light, that of Jesus who, becoming human like us, reveals himself in a surprising way: he is born to a poor, unknown maiden, who gives birth to him in a stable, with only the help of her husband. The world does not notice anything, but in heaven the angels who know of the event exult! And it is in this way that the Son of God presents himself to us today: as God’s gift to humanity, which is immersed in darkness and in the listlessness of slumber (cf. Is 9:1). And again today we witness the fact that humanity often prefers darkness, because it knows that the light would reveal all those actions and thoughts that would make us blush or stir our conscience. Thus, we prefer to remain in the dark and not subvert our own bad habits.

We can thus ask ourselves what it means to welcome God’s gift, which is Jesus. As he himself has taught us with his life, it means becoming daily a gift freely given to those we meet on our own path. This is why Christmas gifts are exchanged. The true gift to us is Jesus, and like him we seek to be gifts to others. And, since we want to be gifts to others, we exchange gifts, as a sign, as a symbol of this attitude that Jesus teaches us: he, sent by the Father, was a gift to us, and we are gifts to others.

The Apostle Paul offers us a concise key to understanding, when he writes — this passage of Paul is beautiful — “the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us ... to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world” (Tit 2:11-12). The grace of God “has appeared” in Jesus, the face of God, to whom the Virgin Mary gave birth like every child of this world, but he came not “from the earth”, he came “from heaven”, from God. In this way, with the incarnation of the Son, God opened the way of new life, founded not on selfishness but on love. Jesus’ birth is our Heavenly Father’s greatest gesture of love.

And lastly, a final important aspect: in Christmas we can see how human history, that movement of the powerful of this world, is visited by the history of God. And God engages those who, confined to the margins of society, are the first beneficiaries of his gift, namely — the gift — the salvation borne by Jesus. With the little ones and the scorned Jesus establishes a friendship that continues in time and that nourishes hope for a better future. To these people, represented by the shepherds of Bethlehem, “appeared a great light” (cf. Lk 2:9-12). They were marginalized; they were frowned upon, scorned, and the Good News appeared to them first. With these people, with the little ones and the scorned, Jesus establishes a friendship that endures in time and that nourishes hope for a better future. To these people, represented by the shepherds of Bethlehem, appears a great light which leads them straight to Jesus. With them, in all ages, God wishes to build a new world, a world in which there are no longer rejected, mistreated and indigent people.

Dear brothers and sisters, in these days let us open our minds and hearts to welcome this grace. Jesus is God’s gift to us and, if we welcome him, we too can become so to others — be a gift of God to others — first and foremost to those who have never experienced attention and tenderness. How many people in our life have never experienced a caress, loving attention, a kind gesture. Christmas spurs us to do so. In this way Jesus comes to be born again in each of our lives and, through us, he continues to be the gift of salvation for the little ones and the excluded.

Pope Francisco's Catechesis on Christmas in the Jubilee of Mercy
General Audience, Wednesday 20 December 2015, in St Peter's Square - in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
In these days of Christmas the Child Jesus is placed before us. I am certain that in our homes many families still have a nativity scene arranged, continuing this beautiful tradition brought about by St Francis of Assisi which keeps alive in our hearts the mystery of God who became man.

Devotion to the Child Jesus is widespread. Many saints cultivated this devotion in their daily prayers, and wished to model their lives after that of the Child Jesus. I think in particular of St Thérèse of Lisieux, who as a Carmelite nun took the name Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She is also a Doctor of the Church who knew how to live and witness to the “spiritual childhood” which is assimilated through meditation, as the Virgin Mary taught, on the humility of God who became small for us. This is a great mystery. God is humble! We, who are proud and full of vanity, believe we are something big: we are nothing! He, the Great One, is humble and becomes a child. This is a true mystery. God is humble. This is beautiful!

There was a time in which, in the divine-human Person of Christ, God was a child, and this must hold a particular significance for our faith. It is true that his death on the cross and his Resurrection are the highest expressions of his redeeming love, however let us not forget that the whole of his earthly life is revelation and teaching. In the Christmas season we remember his childhood. In order to grow in faith we will need to contemplate the Child Jesus more often. Certainly, we know nothing of this period of his life. The rare indications that we possess refer to the imposition of his name eight days after his birth and his presentation at the Temple (cf. Lk 2:21-28); in addition to this, the visit of the Magi and the ensuing escape to Egypt (cf. Mt 2:1-23). Then, there is a great leap to 12 years of age, when with Mary and Joseph he goes in pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover, and instead of returning with his parents, he remains in the Temple to speak with the doctors of the law.

As we see, we know little of the Child Jesus, but we can learn much about him if we look to the lives of children. It is a beautiful habit that parents and grandparents have, that of watching what the children do.

We discover, first of all, that children want our attention. They have to be at the centre — why? Because they are proud? No! Because they need to feel protected. It is important that we too place Jesus at the centre of our life and know, even if it may seem paradoxical, that it is our responsibility to protect him. He wants to be in our embrace, he wants to be tended to and to be able to fix his gaze on ours. Additionally, we must make the Child Jesus smile in order to show him our love and our joy that he is in our midst. His smile is a sign of the love that gives us the assurance of being loved. Children, lastly, love to play. Playing with children, however, means abandoning our logic in order to enter theirs. If we want to have fun it is necessary to understand what they like, and not to be selfish and make them do the things that we like. It is a lesson for us. Before Jesus we are called to abandon our pretense of autonomy — and this is the crux of the matter: our pretense of autonomy — in order to instead accept the true form of liberty, which consists in knowing and serving whom we have before us. He, the Child, is the Son of God who comes to save us. He has come among us to show us the face of the Father abounding in love and mercy. Therefore, let us hold the Child Jesus tightly in our arms; let us place ourselves at his service. He is the font of love and serenity. It will be beautiful today, when we get home, to go to the nativity scene and kiss the Baby Jesus and say: “Jesus, I want to be humble like you, humble like God”, and to ask him for this grace.


"Je suis heureux d’accueillir les personnes de langue française, en particulier les enfants malades et les personnes qui leur sont proches ainsi que les autres pèlerins venus de France. Je souhaite qu’en ce temps de Noël, chacun de vous puisse se mettre au service des plus petits et découvrir en eux le visage de Jésus, source d’amour et de sérénité. Que Dieu vous bénisse !

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including the pilgrimage groups from Norway, the Philippines and the United States of America. I thank the choirs for their praise of God in song. With prayerful good wishes that the the Church’s celebration of the Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for all, I invoke upon you and your families an abundance of joy and peace in the Lord. Happy New Year!

Mit Freude heiße ich die Pilger und Besucher aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache, aus den Niederlanden und aus Belgien willkommen. Die Betrachtung der Kindheit Jesu lässt uns die barmherzige Liebe Gottes zu uns Menschen tiefer begreifen. Wir wollen dem Jesuskind unsere Liebe schenken und ihm mit unserem Leben dienen. Ein gutes neues Jahr!

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos provenientes de España y Latinoamérica. [Veo que hay muchos mexicanos] Acojamos al Señor en nuestros corazones, demostrémosle nuestro amor y el gozo de saber que Él siempre está en medio de nosotros. Muchas gracias.

Amados peregrinos de língua portuguesa, a minha cordial saudação para vós todos, desejando a cada um que sempre resplandeça, nos vossos corações, famílias e comunidades, a luz do Salvador, que nos revela o rosto terno e misericordioso do Pai do Céu. Abracemos o Deus Menino, colocando-nos ao seu serviço: Ele é fonte de amor e serenidade. Ele vos abençoe com um Ano Novo sereno e feliz!

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، إن الطفل يسوع يريد أن يكون بين ذراعينا ويرغب بأن نعتني به، لنفتح إذًا له قلوبنا وبيوتنا ولننشر عطايا محبّته في العالم! ليبارككُم الرب!

Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Dziękuję wam i wszystkim, którzy na różne sposoby okazali mi ich duchową bliskość i wyrazili życzenia z okazji Bożego Narodzenia i Nowego Roku. Z serca odwzajemniam te uczucia i życzę wam i waszym rodzinom, a szczególnie tym, którzy czują się samotni, abyście w wierze mogli głęboko doświadczyć w waszym życiu obecności nowo narodzonego Syna Bożego i cieszyć się Jego miłością, jego pokojem i radością. Szczęśliwego nowego roku!"


"I invite prayers for the victims of the natural disasters that have recently struck the United States, Great Britain and South America, particularly Paraguay, sadly claiming lives, displacing many people and causing extensive damage. May the Lord give comfort to those peoples, and may fraternal solidarity support them in their needs.

* * *

Porgo un cordiale augurio natalizio ai pellegrini di lingua italiana. Sono lieto di accogliere i fedeli delle Diocesi di Vittorio Veneto e Monreale, accompagnati dai loro Pastori Mons. Pizziolo e Mons. Pennisi. Saluto le Suore dell’Istituto Madri Pie, esortandole a vivere con rinnovato entusiasmo il carisma di fondazione. Saluto i ragazzi del Movimento dei Focolari; i cresimandi della Valle Brembana - ci sono tanti cresimandi oggi qui! - incoraggiandoli ad essere messaggeri di solidarietà fra le nazioni e testimoni di gioia e di speranza.  A tutti auguro di diffondere nella quotidianità la luce di Cristo, che ha brillato sull’umanità nella Notte di Natale.

I address a special thought to young people, to the sick and to newlyweds. May the icon of the nativity scene which we contemplate in these days help you, dear young people, to imitate the Holy Family, model of true love. May it sustain you, dear sick people, to offer your suffering in union with that of Jesus for the salvation of the world. May it encourage you, dear newlyweds, to edify your household on the rock of the Word of God, rendering it, on the example of that of Nazareth, a welcoming place, filled with love, understanding and forgiveness."

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) in Das Weihnachtsgeheimnis (The Mystery of Christmas):

The Child in the manger extends its little hands and its smile seems to be saying what would come forth later from the lips of the man: “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened” (Mt 11,28)... “Follow me!” say the little hands, words which later would come from the lips of the Man. Thus they spoke to the disciple whom the Lord loved and who is now also part of the group at the manger. St John, the young man with the pure, youthful heart followed without asking, where to? why? He left his father's boat (Mt 4,22) and went with the Lord along all his ways, even to Golgotha (Jn 19,26).

“Follow me!” - young Stephen understood this also. He followed the Lord in the struggle against the powers of darkness, the blindness of obstinate unbelief; he bore witness to him with his word and his blood; he followed him in his Spirit, the Spirit of love, which resists sin but loves the sinner, and even in death intercedes with God on behalf of the murderer.

These are the figures of light who kneel around the manger: the gentle, Innocent children, the faithful shepherds, the humble kings, Stephen, the enthusiastic youth and beloved apostle, John - all who followed the call of the Lord. In contrast to them, there is the night of incomprehensible callousness and blindness: the scribes who have information as to the time and place where the Saviour of the world was to be born (Mt 2,5), but who nonetheless did not go to Bethlehem, and King Herod who wants to kill the Lord of life. In the presence of the Child in the manger, minds are divided. He is the King of kings and Lord of life and death. He utters his “Follow me” and whoever is not for him is against him (Mt 12,30). He also speaks for us and invites us to choose between light and darkness.