Vatican City, Dec 24, 2019 / 14:21 pm
A person’s weakness and sin does not change Christ’s love for them, and Catholics should strive to treat others the same way, serving anyone and not only those they consider worthy, Pope Francis said on Christmas Eve.
“God does not love you because you think and act the right way. He loves you, plain and simple. His love is unconditional; it does not depend on you,” the pope said Dec. 24 in St. Peter’s Basilica.
“May we not wait for our neighbors to be good before we do good to them, for the Church to be perfect before we love her, for others to respect us before we serve them,” he said. “Let us begin with ourselves. This is what it means freely to accept the gift of grace.”
On the vigil of Christmas, Pope Francis spoke about the gift of Christ’s love, which all humanity has received regardless of merit, and what is the proper response to this gift.
“You may have mistaken ideas, you may have made a complete mess of things, but the Lord continues to love you,” the pope said, explaining that God is not only good when a person is good.
“For all our sins, he continues to love us. His love does not change,” he added. “This is the gift we find at Christmas. … He is born in utter poverty in order to win our hearts by the wealth of his love.”
According to Francis, the only response to the gratuitous love of God can be acceptance, gratitude, and giving love in return.
“Whatever goes wrong in our lives, whatever doesn’t work in the Church, whatever problems there are in the world, will no longer serve as an excuse. It will become secondary, for faced with Jesus’ extravagant love, a love of utter meekness and closeness, we have no excuse,” he stated.