Pope Francis told the crowds gathered for today's Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter's Square that those people who claim to be Christians, yet refuse to serve others are really not Christians at all, but are pagans. “It is an ugly thing when one sees a Christian who does not want to lower himself, who does not want to serve, a Christian who parades around everywhere. It’s terrible, no? That person isn’t a Christian: he is a pagan! The Christian serves and lowers himself,” the Holy Father taught. With the approach of the Christmas season, Pope Francis focused on the reality that Christ lowered himself to be born in a stable in Bethlehem. “In Christmas, God reveals himself not as one who stands above and who dominates the universe, but as He who lowers himself,” the Pope said.
“God lowers himself, coming down to earth as little and poor, showing that in order to be similar to him we must not place ourselves above others, but rather lower ourselves, place ourselves in service, make ourselves small with the small, poor with the poor,” said Francis, “we must make it so that our brothers and sisters never feel alone. Our presence in solidarity to their side expresses not only with words but with the eloquence of gestures that God is close to all.”
“The presence of God in the midst of humanity is not carried out in an ideal, idyllic world, but in this real world, marked by many good and bad things, marked by division, cruelty, poverty, abuse, and war,” the Pontiff pointed out, “he chose to live our history as it is, with all the weight of its limitations and dramas. In so doing, he demonstrated in an unparalleled way his merciful inclinations and overflowing love toward his human creatures.”
“Jesus is God with us,” the Pope declared, emphasizing the point by asking the crowd to repeat the words "Jesus is God with us." Francis reminded his listeners that Advent is meant as a season of preparation, a time to prepare our hearts and souls to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the hope that birth brings. “This is the reason for our hope, God is with us and God is still faithful to us!” the Bishop of Rome exclaimed. "Think carefully about this: God comes to live with men, he chooses the earth as his dwelling in order to stay together with find where man passes his days in joy and or in sorrow. Therefore the earth is above all not a ‘valley of tears’ but a place where God himself has pitched his tent. It is the place of meeting for God with man, of solidarity of God with men.”