Pope Francis kisses a figurine of baby Jesus during a mass on Christmas eve. Photograph:( AFP )
The Pope told the crowd gathered at the Vatican that 'you may have mistaken ideas, you may have made a complete mess of things, but the Lord continues to love you.'
Pope Francis celebrated Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica as thousands watched it on large screens ushering in Christmas celebrations on Tuesday.
The Pope told the crowd gathered at the Vatican that "you may have mistaken ideas, you may have made a complete mess of things, but the Lord continues to love you."
"Christmas reminds us that God continues to love us all, even the worst of us," Francis, 82, said as people in large numbers gathered to hear the Pope's sermon.
"How often do we think that God is good if we are good and punishes us if we are bad. Yet that is not how he is," the Pope said.
"Let us contemplate the child and let ourselves be caught up in his tender love. Then we have no further excuse for not letting ourselves be loved by him," Francis said, adding,"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."
As is customary, Pope Francis will deliver his Christmas message on Wednesday from the central balcony at St. Peter's Basilica.
"At Christmas all the world looks to us, to Bethlehem," he said while delivering his message to the people as church bells rang out.
"Special greetings to our brothers and sisters in Gaza, with whom I celebrated Christmas two days ago," he added.