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Christmas - Natale - Navidad - Noël 2004

Pope St John Paul II's Homily at Midnight Mass
St Peter's Basilica, Christmas Midnight Mass - in English, French, German, Italian, PolishPortuguese & Spanish

"1. "Adoro te devote, latens Deitas."

"Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore." On this Night, the opening words of this celebrated Eucharistic hymn echo in my heart. These words accompany me daily in this year dedicated to the Eucharist.

In the Son of the Virgin, "wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger" (Lk 2:12), we acknowledge and adore "the Bread which came down from heaven" (Jn 6:41, 51), the Redeemer who came among us in order to bring life to the world.

2. Bethlehem! The city where Jesus was born in fulfilment of the Scriptures, in Hebrew means "house of bread." It was there that the Messiah was to be born, the One who would say of himself: "I am the bread of life" (Jn 6:35, 48).

In Bethehem was born the One who, under the sign of broken bread, would leave us the memorial of his Pasch. On this Holy Night, adoration of the Child Jesus becomes Eucharistic adoration.

3. We adore you, Lord, truly present in the Sacrament of the Altar, the living Bread which gives life to humanity. We acknowledge you as our one God, a little Child lying helpless in the manger! "In the fullness of time, you became a man among men, to unite the end to the beginning, that is, man to God" (St Irenaeus).

You are born on this Night, our divine Redeemer, and, in our journey along the paths of time, you become for us the food of eternal life.

Look upon us, eternal Son of God, who took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary! All humanity, with its burden of trials and troubles, stands in need of you. Stay with us, living Bread which came down from heaven for our salvation! Stay with us forever! Amen!"

Papa San Giovanni Paolo II's Urbi et Orbi Message on Christmas Day
St Peter's Square, 25 December 2004 - in English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. Christus natus est nobis, venite, adoremus!
Christ is born for us: come, let us adore him!
On this solemn day we come to you,
tender Babe of Bethlehem.
By your birth you have hidden your divinity
in order to share our frail human nature.
In the light of faith, we acknowledge you
as true God, made man out of love for us.
You alone are the Redeemer of mankind!

2. Before the crib where you lie helpless,
let there be an end to the spread of violence in its many forms,
the source of untold suffering;
let there be an end to the numerous situations of unrest
which risk degenerating into open conflict;
let there arise a firm will to seek peaceful solutions,
respectful of the legitimate aspirations of individuals and peoples.

3. Babe of Bethlehem, Prophet of peace,
encourage attempts to promote dialogue and reconciliation,
sustain the efforts to build peace,
which hesitantly, yet not without hope, are being made
to bring about a more tranquil present and future
for so many of our brothers and sisters in the world.
I think of Africa, of the tragedy of Darfur in Sudan,
of Côte d’Ivoire and of the Great Lakes Region.
With great apprehension I follow the situation in Iraq.
And how can I fail to look with anxious concern,
but also invincible confidence,
towards that Land of which you are a son?

4. Everywhere peace is needed!
You, Prince of true peace,
help us to understand that the only way to build peace
is to flee in horror from evil,
and to pursue goodness with courage and perseverance.
Men and women of good will, of every people on the earth,
come with trust to the crib of the Saviour!
"He who bestows the Kingdom of heaven
does not take away human kingdoms" (cf. Hymn for Vespers of Epiphany).
Hasten to meet him;
he comes to teach us
the way of truth, peace and love.

St JPII - St Peter's Square, the Vatican, Christmas Day, 25th December 2004