Pope Francis Image Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis is urging Christians to forgo the greed, hoarding and materialism of Christmas and to focus instead on its message of simplicity, charity and love.

Francis celebrated a Christmas Eve Mass on Monday night in St. Peter's Basilica, opening a busy week for the pope that includes a Christmas Day message and blessing, a Dec. 26 prayer, New Year's Eve vespers and a Jan. 1 Mass.

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During his homily, Francis lamented that many people find meaning in possessions. He said: "An insatiable greed marks all human history, even today, when paradoxically a few dine luxuriantly while all too many go without the daily bread needed to survive."

Francis' has focused on the world's poor and downtrodden during his five-year papacy. The Catholic Church's first Latin American pope has denounced the global financial system that he says make the rich richer at the expense of the poor.