With Italy under a new lockdown for the holidays, Pope Francis celebrated Christmas Mass “during the Night” in a near empty Saint Peter’s Basilica on Thursday evening. Millions of people were able to follow the ceremony through radio, television and the various means of social communications.

In his homily, Pope Francis said, “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.”

Jesus is born “for us”

Jesus’ birth, the Pope said, is for us; and he noted how often the word “for” appears “on this holy night.”

“Yet what do these words — ‘for us’ — really mean?” he asked. “They mean that the Son of God, the one who is holy by nature, came to make us, God’s children, holy by grace.” This is a “magnificent gift,” he said, a gift that is “pure grace,” which does not depend upon anything we can do, but solely on God’s love for us.

Source: Vatican News