Pope Francis says "May this great Christian event, Christmas, be an occasion for everyone to discover and experience how much God loves man, every human being!" to Firefighters

Paul VI Hall
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Dear Firefighters, good morning!
I welcome you and your family; I greet the Authorities present here and I thank the Prefect Laura Lega for her words. This meeting offers me the opportunity to express my appreciation for what you represent and for what you do at the service of the community, both in daily services and in major emergencies. Of these the most recent is the flood in an area of the island of Ischia; but we all know your numerous and prolonged interventions to help earthquake victims. I too have been able to personally ascertain, on the occasion of some visits made to Italy, the good you have done to the people and to the environmental and historical-artistic heritage in those situations.
Your work - in synergy with the other forces - is aimed at guaranteeing the conditions of security and tranquility for civil life; and furthermore, as we said, to intervene when it is a question of protecting citizens from calamities or dangers.

Your sense of dedication – and this is decisive, you have so much! -, promptness, altruism, audacity, willingness to sacrifice to the point of risking one's life - and this is great about you - are well known and people are rightly proud of it. In certain situations of grave danger, you risk your own safety. Therefore, your mission is a personal and conscious choice that is justified by the duty to protect people and the community in times of need.
From the Christian perspective, this particular work that you have undertaken is reflected in the parable of the Good Samaritan, who, meeting on the street a man robbed, wounded and abandoned, took charge of him with great compassion and generosity (cf. Lk 10:33- 35). This parable is “capable of highlighting the basic option that we need to make in order to rebuild this world that gives us pain. In the face of so much pain, so many wounds, the only way out is to be like the Good Samaritan" (Encyclical letter Fratelli tutti, 67). This man demonstrates charity and availability by assisting the victim in the moment of greatest need. And this when so many others - out of indifference or out of hardness of heart - have turned their gaze away. The good Samaritan also teaches us to go beyond the emergency, to prepare, we could say, the conditions for a return to normalcy. In fact, after providing first aid, he takes the wounded man to a hotel and entrusts him to the hotelier so that he can recover.
The protagonist of this parable shows us God's compassion and tenderness. This is God's style: closeness with compassion and tenderness. So is the Lord: close, compassionate and tender. He tells us that fraternity is the answer to building a better society, because the stranger I meet wounded along the way is my brother. And you, Firefighters, represent one of the most beautiful expressions of the long tradition of solidarity of the Italian people, which has its roots in evangelical altruism. I urge you to safeguard this moral and civil heritage, first of all cultivating it in your personal lifestyle. Indeed, yours is one of those professions that have the character of a mission: a mission of service to people in times of need, from small to large emergencies that may arise; a mission of service to the dignity of people, who should never be abandoned in times of difficulty; a mission of service to the common good of society which, especially in times of crisis, such as the one we are experiencing, needs sane, reliable forces who work tenaciously in hiding.
And with this wish I renew my gratitude for your precious service, thank you very much! And sometimes, if I have something to wish you, it is this: "Lord, that they have no work, that there is no need to go!". The Virgin Mary, who goes "in haste" to her cousin Elizabeth to help her (cf. Lk 1:39) - you always go in a hurry when there is something, don't you? – be your model. I entrust you to the intercession of your patroness, Saint Barbara, I bless you from the bottom of my heart together with your families; and I ask you please to pray for me. Thank you.
Dear friends, Christmas, now near, is the feast that more than any other sums up the value that I have re-proposed to you: closeness, compassion, tenderness; solidarity, service, brotherhood. And all of this was revealed to us not written in a code to be observed, but written in the flesh of a Son of man, Jesus. This is the Christian novelty that never ceases to amaze us: God came to save us by making himself like us. He did what you do: he came to help us in danger, to save us, and he did it in the most radical way, knowing that he had to give his life to save us. He is the Good Samaritan of humanity. May this great Christian event, Christmas, be an occasion for everyone to discover and experience how much God loves man, every human being!
Source: Vatican.va with Screenshot