Pope Francis has advised against making the pursuit of money, a career or success the basis for one’s whole life.
Francis said during a homily on Saturday to mark Epiphany that people “often make do” with having “health, a little money and a bit of entertainment”.
He urged helping the poor and other needy communities instead, while giving freely without expecting anything in return.
Most Christian religions observe Epiphany to recall the three wise men who followed a star to find baby Jesus. Francis suggested asking “what star we have chosen to follow in our lives”.
He said: “Some stars may be bright, but do not point the way. So it is with success, money, career, honours and pleasures when these become our lives.”
That path, he says, will not ensure peace and joy.
Later, during an appearance from his studio window overlooking St Peter’s Square, Francis told tens of thousands of faithful gathered below that some Christians prefer to live while indifferent to Jesus.
“Instead of conducting themselves in coherence with their own Christian faith, they follow the principles of the world, which lead to satisfying the inclinations toward arrogance, the thirst for power and for riches,” Francis said.
He prayed that instead that “the world makes progress down the path of justice and of peace”.
Francis noted that some Eastern Rite Catholic and Orthodox churches are celebrating Christmas this weekend. In expressing cordial wishes to these believers, Francis added: “May this glorious celebration be a source of new spiritual vigour and of communion among us Christians.”
He also recalled the traditions such as in Poland, where many families join in processions recalling the three wise men. In some countries, Epiphany, and not Christmas, is the holiday occasion to exchange gifts among loved ones.