Dec 24, 2020
Pope Francis Christmas Eve Mass Prayer Transcript 2020
Pope Francis held the 2020 Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican today. Read the transcript of the prayers & mass here, in English.
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Pope Francis: (00:15)
Together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she give birth to a son, her first born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn. In the countryside close by, there were shepherds who lived in the fields, and took it in turns to watch their flocks during the night. The angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them. They were terrified, but the angel said, “Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today, in the town of David, a savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord, and here is a sign for you. You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly with the angel, there was a great throng of the heavenly host praising God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace to men who enjoy his favor.”
Pope Francis: (01:37)
The proclamation of the Gospel announcing the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Gospel procession now brings the Book of the Gospel to our Holy Father, who will venerate the book and bless us. We adore you, oh, Lord, word incarnate, son of the eternal Father.
Pope Francis: (02:57)
The deacon now bringing the Book of the Gospels to where the statue of the child Jesus is, where the Book of the Gospels will now be enthroned. The same throne being used that was used during the Second Vatican Council. We now prepare ourselves to hear our Holy Father’s homily for this Christmas mass. Tonight, the great prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled for to us a child is born, to us a son is given. To us a son is given. We often hear it said that the greatest joy in life is the birth of child. It is something extraordinary, and it changes everything. It brings an excitement that makes us think nothing of weariness, discomfort, and sleepless nights, for it fills us with indescribable and incomparable happiness.
Pope Francis: (04:55)
That is what Christmas is. The birth of Jesus is the newness that enables us to be reborn each year, and to find in him the strength needed to face every trial. Yes, because his birth is for us, for me, for you, for everyone. He is born for me. He is born for us. For, is a word that appears again and again on this holy night. “For us a child is born,” Isaiah professed. For us is born this day a savior, and we repeat it in a psalm. “Jesus gave himself for us,” Saint Paul tells us. And in the Gospel, the angel proclaims, “For to you is born this day. A savior. For me, for us.”
Pope Francis: (05:50)
Yet, what do these words, for us, really mean? They mean that the son of God, the one who is Holy by nature, came to make us, God’s children, holy by grace. Yes. God came into the world as a child to make us children of God, what a magnificent gift, certainly. This day, God amazes us and says to each of us, “You are amazing.”
Pope Francis: (06:24)
Dear sister, dear brother never be discouraged. Are you tempted to feel you were a mistake? God tells you, “No, you are triumph.” Do you have the feeling of failure or inadequacy? The fear that you will never emerge from the dark tunnel of trial? God says to you, “Have courage, I’m with you.” He does this not in words, but by making himself a child like you and for you. This way, he reminds you that the starting point of all rebirth is the recognition that we are children of God. This is the point of departure of whatever Reaper.
Pope Francis: (07:03)
This is the undying heart of our hope. The incandescent core that gives warmth and meaning to our life. Underlying our strengths and weaknesses, stronger than all our past hurts and failures or our fears and concerns about the future, there is this great truth, we are beloved sons and daughters. God’s love for us does not, and never will depend upon us. It’s completely free love.
Pope Francis: (07:48)
This night, you will not find an explanation anywhere else, it’s only grace. It’s all grace. The gift is freely given without the merit of anyone of us, pure grace. Tonight, Saint Paul tells us, “The grace of God has appeared. Nothing is more precious than this. To us a son is given. The father did not give us something, he gave us his only begotten son, who is all his joy.” Yet, if we look at our ingratitude towards God and our injustice towards so many of our brothers and sisters, a doubt can arise. Was the Lord right in giving us so much? Is he right still to trust us? Does he not overestimate?
Pope Francis: (08:48)
Of course, he overestimates us, and he does this because he is madly in love with us. He cannot help but love us, that’s the way he is. He’s so different from ourselves. God always loves us with a greater love than we have for ourselves.
Pope Francis: (09:10)
This is his secret for entering our heart. God knows that we become better only by accepting his unfailing love. It’s an unchanging love that changes us. One the love of Jesus can transform our life, heal our deepest hurts. He sets us free from the vicious circles of disappointment, anger, and constant complaining.
Pope Francis: (09:56)
To us a son is given, in the lowly manger of a darkened stable, the son of God is truly present. But this raises yet another question, why was he born at night, without decent accommodation, in poverty and rejection, when he deserved to be born as the greatest of Kings in the finest of palaces? Why did it happen like this?
Pope Francis: (10:21)
To make us understand the immensity of his love in our human condition, even to touching the depths of our poverty, our misery with his concrete love.
Pope Francis: (10:36)
The son of God was born an outcast in order to tell us that every outcast is a child of God. He came into the world as each child comes into the world, weak and vulnerable, so that we can learn to accept our weaknesses with tender love, and to discover something important as he did in Bethlehem, so too with us, God loves to work wonders through our poverty.
Pope Francis: (11:01)
He placed the entirety of our salvation in a manger of a stable. He is not afraid of our poverty, so let us allow his mercy to transform it completely. This is what it means to say that a born a son is born for us. And yet we hear that word for in another place too. The angel proclaims to the shepherds, “This will be a sign for you, a baby lying in a manger.” That sign, the child in a manger, is also a sign for us to guide us through life. In Bethlehem, a name that means house of bread, God lives in a manger, as if to remind us that, in order to live, we’ll need him like the bread we eat.
Pope Francis: (11:54)
We need to be filled with his free, unfailing, and concrete love. How often, instead, in our hunger for entertainment, success, and worldly pleasures, we nourish life with food that does not satisfy and leaves us empty within. The Lord, through the prophet Isaiah, complained that “while the ox and the donkey know their master’s crib, we, his people, do not know him, the source of our life.” It’s true, in our endless desire for possessions, we run after many numbers of mangers filled with passing things, and forget the manger of Bethlehem. That manger, poor in everything, yet rich in love, teaches that true nourishment in life comes from letting ourselves be loved by God and loving others in turn. Jesus gives us the example, he is the word of God. He becomes an infant. He does not say a word but offers life. We, on the other hand, are full of words, but often have so little to say. We’re illiterate about doing good. To us a son is given.
Pope Francis: (13:19)
Parents of little children know how much love and patience they require. We have to feed them, look after them, bathe them, and care for their vulnerability and their needs, but they’re often difficult to understand. A child makes us feel loved, but can also teach us how to love, God was born a child in order to encourage us to care for others.
Pope Francis: (13:40)
His quiet tears make us realize the uselessness of our many impatient outbursts, and we have many of those. His discerning love reminds us that the time we have is not to be spent in feeling sorry for ourselves, but in comforting the tears of the others who are suffering.
Pope Francis: (14:06)
God came among us in poverty and need to tell us that in serving the poor, we will show our love for him. From this night onward, as a poet wrote, “God’s residence is next mine. His furniture is love.” That’s a citation from Emily Dickinson.
Pope Francis: (14:26)
To us, a son is given, that’s you Jesus. You are the child who makes me a child. You are the child who makes me a child. You’ve love me as I am, yeah, I know this, not as I imagine myself to be. In embracing you, the child of the manger, I once more embrace my life. In welcoming you, the bread of life, I too desire to give my life. You who save me, teach me to serve. You who do not leave me alone, help me to comfort your brothers and sisters, for from this night forward, all are my brothers and sisters.
Pope Francis: (15:27)
We too now take a moment to gaze on this image that has been placed before us to help us understand the mystery we are celebrating. The mystery we have heard proclaimed in the gospel just now, and on which we have reflected with the words of our Holy Father. Words it’s that help us understand the great gift we’ve been given, each one of us, the gift of a son born for us. This son who makes us all children of the Father, so as our Holy Father finished in his homily, we might recognize everyone. Children of the Father, my brother, my sister, we pray that we become bearers of this mystery, and we now profess our faith.
Pope Francis: (22:55)
With joy and gratitude, we turn to the Father who sent His Son, Jesus, to renew humanity and reunite it in one single family.
For the Holy Church, that she might joyfully proclaim that the mystery of the birth of Your Son has opened new paths of freedom and peace.
For Pope Francis, for all the bishops, priests, and deacons, that they might reach the hearts of every person with the gift of Your grace.
For those peoples torn apart by war and violence, may every yoke be broken and may no one ever undergo oppression and shame to fulfill the dream of the prophet.
For the least, the marginalized, for those who have fled their own country because of war and poverty, may the tenderness with which Mary cared for Your Son enkindle attitudes of goodness and care in each Christian community.
For those of us gathered here, that the proclamation of peace that the angels sang remain in our hearts and help us make of our lives a continual act of praise.
Pope Francis: (25:15)
Hear, O Father, our prayers and grant that, in the birth of Christ, Your Son of the Virgin Mary’s womb, we might recognize Your endless goodness.
We now move into the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
For those of you following in a missal, the Eucharistic prayer used this evening is The Roman Canon, Eucharistic Prayer 1.
The altar has now been prepared and our Holy Father is now approaching in order to offer the gifts of bread and wine, which will soon become the very Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate this evening.
The Holy Father now censing the gifts, the image of the Crucifix.
Now censing the altar, he will soon be censed and the people here gathered as well. A reminder that we, too, enter into this sacrifice of praise that Jesus is offering to His Father.
Just recently, in order to make the Mass more accessible, especially in this time when churches cannot be filled to capacity as before, the Congregation for Divine Worship has granted bishops the permission to allow priests to celebrate up to four Masses on Christmas Day.
Pope Francis: (29:53)
May the oblation of this day’s feast be pleasing to You, O Lord, we pray, that through this most holy exchange we may be found in the likeness of Christ in whom our nature is united to You.
Pope Francis: (30:38)
It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord Holy Father, Almighty and Eternal God. For in the mystery of the Word made flesh a new light of Your glory has shown upon the eyes of our mind so that, as we recognize in Him God made visible, we may be caught up through Him in love of things invisible. And so, with angels and archangels, with thrones and dominions, and with all the hosts and powers of heaven, we sing the hymn of Your glory as without end we acclaim.
Speaker 2: (42:16)
Pope Francis: (57:03)
And Jesus, the father has given us a brother who comes to seek us out whenever we’re lost or confused. And we pray.
Pope Francis: (57:17)
Grant us, we pray, O Lord, our God that we who are gladdened by participation in the feast of our Redeemer’s nativity may through an honorable way of life, become worthy of union with Him. And we prepare ourselves now for God’s blessing.
Pope Francis: (57:49)
May the God of infinite goodness, who by the incarnation of His Son has striven darkness from the world, and by that glorious birth has illumined this most holy night, dry far from you the darkness of ice and illumine your hearts with the light of virtue. May God who willed that the great joy of His Son’s saving birth be announced to shepherds by the Angel, fill your minds with the gladness He gives and make you heralds of His Gospel. And may God, who by the Incarnation brought together the earthly and heavenly realm, fill you with the gift of His peace and favor and make you sharers with the Church in Heaven.
Pope Francis: (59:32)
Our Holy Father will now make his way to the image. Once again, first to the image of Our Lady, where we will have a [foreign language 00:59:44].
Pope Francis: (59:41)
Loving Mother of the Redeemer, Gate of Heaven, Star of the Sea, assist your people who have fallen, yet strive to rise again. To the wonderment of nature, You bore Your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before. You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting, have pity on us poor sinners. With these images, we now bring to an end this live broadcast of the celebration of Christmas mastering the night here in St. Peter’s Basilica, presided over by Pope Francis. We will be back live tomorrow from the [foreign language 00:04:24], above St. Peter’s vestibule, where Pope Francis will deliver his Urbi et Orbi message. It’s at 12 o’clock noon, Rome time.
Pope Francis: (01:01:35)
I invite you to visit the Vatican News web portal, our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube accounts for coverage of today’s Christmas liturgy, and other Vatican and world names. On behalf of Vatican Media, I’d like to thank all of the technicians who have made this broadcast possible, and to all of you for joining us. A most blessed Christmas to all of you. May the peace and love and joy of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. [foreign language 01:02:05]. Praised be Jesus Christ.