Monday, 31 December 2012

H.E. The Lord Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne - Christmas Message 2012

CONSUMMATI IN UNUM


His Eminence The Lord Cardinal
Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne
Archbishop of Lima, Peru
Cardinal Priest of ‘S. Camillo de Lellis

His Eminence The Lord Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2012

“La caridad del Niño Jesús estrena en nosotros el valor de la palabra, de la familia y de la verdad”


“La Navidad es alegría y paz. Deseo en todos los rincones del país una feliz Navidad junto a ese niño y a esa palabra llena de amor que se hace carne para vivir con cada uno de nosotros”, refirió el Cardenal Juan Luis Cipriani en la Misa que presidió en la Catedral de Lima, en la Solemnidad de la Natividad del Señor, el martes 25 de diciembre.

El Cardenal Cipriani animó a todos los fieles congregados en la Iglesia Primada a reconocer el valor de la verdad en nuestras vidas.

“Existe la verdad, la pura bondad, la pura luz y el poder supremo por encima de todos los poderes. Existe en ese niño la verdad, no mi verdad ni tu verdad, la verdad, la bondad, la belleza, la música, el gozo y la paz”, señaló.
“Tu palabra debe ser un eco de la palabra de Dios, siembra a tu alrededor alegría y veracidad, no se trata de quedar bien o de que les guste a todos, que sea verdad, que haya amor y comprensión, la tolerancia se queda corta, que haya amor, la caridad de este Niño estrena en nosotros ese valor de la palabra, de la familia y de la verdad”, mencionó.

“La palabra requiere de una profunda veracidad. La palabra en Dios es amor, es verdad, es unidad y es justicia. Por eso el mensaje de la Navidad junto al cariño tiene también un profundo contenido y más en estos tiempos. Te pedimos Señor que sepamos valorar la palabra, por lo tanto descartar la mentira”, continuó.

En otro momento, animó a los fieles a ser humildes a ejemplo del niño Jesús.
“El Niño Jesús nos interroga con su luz, con su alegría y con su sencillez. La grandeza de la humanidad nos pide a gritos recuperar el sentido de la palabra. Tú y yo valemos lo que vale nuestro interior, nuestros pensamientos y nuestros esfuerzos, por la riqueza que alberga el corazón y que los demás pueden conocer por tu palabra. Rescatar la palabra es el gesto que te lleva a dar gracias, a pedir perdón y a manifestar con humildad aquellos sentimientos y preocupaciones”, refirió.

En tal sentido, el Cardenal Cipriani reconoció que la felicidad solo se experimenta cuando hay espacio dar amor a los niños, a los más necesitados y a los enfermos.

“En este mundo en que los métodos de comunicación tan vacíos, intensos y fríos ¿tengo tiempo para Jesús, para mi familia, para mis padres, hijos, nietos y abuelos?; detengámonos en esa humildad para escuchar la palabra, para ser nosotros más respetuosos con la verdad”, reflexionó.

Finalmente, el Arzobispo de Lima hizo referencia a la misiva que le envío el Presidente de la República, Ollanta Humala, disculpándose por no asistir a la Misa por Navidad en la Catedral de Lima.

“Quiero hacer una breve referencia, agradeciendo al Señor Presidente de la República, que en una amable carta me explica su imposibilidad de estar aquí presente, pero uniéndose a esta Fiesta de Navidad”, señaló.

Concelebraron con el Cardenal Juan Luis Cipriani, los Obispos Auxiliares de Lima, Monseñor Adriano Tomasi OFM., y Monseñor Raúl Chau; el Consejero de la Nunciatura Apostólica, Monseñor Kevin Randall; y el Padre Paulo Piérola.

Participaron de la Santa Misa el Presidente del Poder Judicial, Dr. César San Martín; así como miembros del Cuerpo Diplomático acreditado en el Perú.






Sunday, 30 December 2012

CHRISTMAS 2012 MESSAGE - CARDINAL OSCAR ANDRES RODRIGUEZ MARADIAGA

MIHI VIVERE CHRISTUS EST


His Eminence The Lord Cardinal

Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B.
Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras
President of Caritas International
Cardinal Priest of ‘S. Maria della Speranza

His Eminence The Lord Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2012

As Christians, we take the chance during Advent to renew our relationship with God as we reflect on the greatest expression of his love, that he sent his Son to be with us.


Our thoughts and prayers also turn to our brothers and sisters who don’t have enough food to eat, a roof over their heads or are trapped in an unbreakable cycle of poverty.



This coming Advent Season is an important one as it falls in the Year of Faith, which began in October. During this period, we are particularly called to be witnesses to the Word of God – to live out our faith in our actions so that all may know what we believe.

Pope Benedict XVI announced the year by urging Catholics to appreciate the gift of faith, deepen their relationship with God and strengthen their commitment to sharing their faith with others.


“The renewal of the Church is achieved through the witness offered by the lives of believers: by their very existence in the world. Christians are called to radiate the word of truth that the Lord Jesus has left us,” said the Pope. 



We are all called to be evangelists: to proclaim the Gospel both by word and by action, by preaching and teaching as well as by the living witness of those committed to the work of healing the world. Whether it is feeding the hungry, building homes for those forced from theirs, giving people what they need to transform their own lives or challenging injustices that keep people poor, our acts and voices are eloquent signs of the love of God for all humanity. 


Evangelism is at the heart of Caritas: We hope to change individuals and to transform the world by touching people’s minds and hearts with the liberating good news of Jesus Christ who came not to be served but to serve. When people give their time or resources to Caritas, whether it be a donor who sends a cheque, to a volunteer who spends their free time at a soup kitchen, to a community member who helps build a well, they are changing their own lives and the lives of those around them.


Advent is the season of hope, but it is easy to lose hope when we see so much suffering in the world today. With violence in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, the impact of climate change in the Pacific and Asia, or growing poverty in Europe and North America, at times it seems as if despair has become contagious. 



But hope is everywhere. We just need to recognize it.



Joska Achayo was eight when she had to flee her home in Sudan and was separated from her mother. She spent years with relatives as a refugee in Uganda. Now 25, Joska is back in her native area in South Sudan, where Caritas is giving villagers seeds and farming tools so they can grow enough to feed their families. 



Sometime after her return, Joska met a woman on the road. “I asked her for help in finding my mother,” said Joska. “I didn’t recognise her. Then I realised it was my mother! We started crying tears of joy.”



And so, as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of Christ, we pray that we may be witnesses to the light of truth and justice in the world today, and that we may enable all people to flourish.



A blessed Christmas to you all,



+Oscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB



CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2012 - Cardinal Daniel DiNardo

AVE CRUX SPES UNICA

His Eminence The Lord Cardinal

Daniel DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
Cardinal Priest of ‘S. Eusebio

His Eminence The Lord Cardinal Daniel DiNardo

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers,


"How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given! So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven. No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive Him, still the dear Christ enters in."



(Verse 3, "O Little Town of Bethlehem")



This is the Year of Faith. The Holy Father has asked us to deepen our Faith!

Faith is a transforming force in our life. In the dialogue of God with humanity, a dialogue existing from the beginning, the Lord takes the initiative and keeps inviting each person to know Him, to seek and find His face. God could have remained solitary but did not. The texts of the Sacred Scriptures are a constant letter of God to us; the Father of all wants to communicate with His sometimes scattered sons and daughters. The response given to God's call for friendship is Faith, a gift that changes the human heart. It is not just some part of our existence and everyday life, but the soul of that life.

God revealed Himself in word and works as shown in the Old Testament. But in the fullness of time the Father crossed a threshold and sent His Beloved Son. In this way, in meeting Christ, in listening to Jesus, we would hasten to the embrace of the Father.


 Christmas celebrates the Birth of Christ, the Father's gift, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. We are asked to begin anew the deepening of our Faith by "visiting" the manger, a place so unlikely for a Saviour and Lord, so different from Caesar's fortresses and Quirinius' palace, so different from worldly powers, a point made beautifully by St. Luke in his Gospel. Worldly powers and fascinations are still around. The Lord of all still beckons us to Faith through His Son lying in the manger, destined to complete the comunication of God with all through His life, death and resurrection.


May God bless all our clergy, religious and faithful of the Archdiocese during this magnificent season of Christmas and Epiphany. May you and all your families be embraced by the all consuming love of the Word Made Flesh, Jesus, our Lord and Brother.



Merry Christmas. A Blessed Year of Faith!



+ Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston





Cardinal Oswald Gracias - Christmas Message 2012

To Reconcile All Things In Christ


His Eminence The Lord Cardinal

Oswald Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay

Cardinal Priest of ‘ S. Paolo della Croce a “Corviale”’

His Eminence The Lord Cardinal Oswald Gracias

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2012

In this Year of Faith, as we celebrate Christmas, do we truly believe in the great hymn of Christmas? The Church sings this angelic hymn out joyfully: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of goodwill.” Our God is a God of peace who sent His only Son to bring peace to our world and to our hearts. Our God wants only what is good for us.

Every celebration of Christmas affirms our Faith that Christ has come to redeem us from those inner disturbances that destroy our composure of mind and heart. The Word of God made flesh dwells within us. Christ fills the void of emptiness and loneliness, offers us a reason for living and gives a purpose to our lives. Christ brings the light so that we might see beyond our self-centredness, beyond our desires to acquire more and more, beyond taking care of only “me”. Christ has come to show us how to love one another, to love our enemies and to do to others, as we would have them do to us.

Christmas is more than just the Virgin Mary giving birth to the Christ Child. As we relive the Mystery of Christ’s birth, the Church also gives birth to Christ in today’s world. We are the Church, and all of us give birth to Christ. Just as He spoke to Mary, God has spoken to us, and we believe. When we believe, we bring Christ into the world by our good actions. When we believe, we bring Christ into the world by acting responsibly towards our families, in our jobs, in our relationships with others. When we believe, we bring Christ into the world by being generous and compassionate.

The destructive forces against peace are found everywhere: in greed; in the corruption of power; in violence; in not caring for the poor, the homeless, the migrant, the mentally ill and the voice of the unborn child. The greatest enemies of Christmas are not those who do not know or believe in Christ, but those Christians who have become hard-hearted, self-righteous and have closed their hearts to the human needs of others.

The genuine Christian goes beyond the law, beyond self-interest, beyond self-preservation in always seeking what is truly good for the wellbeing of others, as indeed of themselves. Authentic peace — SHALOM — the peace of Christmas, the peace of Christ, is total wellbeing for the individual, right relations with others and with God, and a justice that puts an end to any rationale for war and exploitation.

The peace of Christmas is what we all yearn for. It is not an empty desire. It is a hope, a hope founded on faith in a God who sent His only Son as our Redeemer and Saviour. We will not see the fullness of peace realised until Christ comes again at the end of time. But we cannot wait until then. We need to pray and work for peace now. When we believe, we give birth to Christ in the world by working for peace.

May the courageous living of our Faith help us experience the Peace, Joy and Love of the Christ-Child this Christmas. May you be filled with Peace, Joy and Love in your hearts and in your homes this Christmas. A grace-filled Christmas to each one of you!

+ Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay
December 22, 2012


His Excellency Archbishop of Malta Monsignor Paul Cremona, O.P. Christmas Message

PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD


His Excellency The Lord Archbishop of Malta
Monsignor Paul Cremona, O.P.

His Excellency  Monsignor Paul Cremona, O.P. - Archbishop of Malta

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2012

The European Union has designated 2013 as the Year of the Citizen.  The aim is for all Europeans to acknowledge their rights as European citizens, in order that, in a spirit of democracy, any decisions they may take during their lifetime will be for their benefit and that of others.  It is for this reason that I am here at MCAST, surrounded by young people who are undertaking their studies at this institution – for these are the citizens of tomorrow.

As we can see from the account of the birth of Baby Jesus – the Christmas narrative – democracy was not practiced in the days of Jesus. Baby Jesus was born at the time when a census was called by Ceasar Augustus for the land of Judah.  According to the edict of the census, all those who lived in Judah were duty bound to register their name in the city of their birth.  Joseph and Mary, who lived in Nazareth, had to travel to Bethlehem, since Joseph descended from the line of David, who hailed from Bethlehem. We all know that this caused great pains for the family, since travel at the time was an arduous task and besides, Mary was about to give birth.  In order to fulfill their duty as citizens, Mary and Joseph had to endure a lot of difficulties.

We ask ourselves: Did Joseph and Mary stand to gain anything in return for enduring so much trouble in order to fulfill their duty? It seems as if they had nothing to gain since the political situation at their time was wrought with problems.  Their land was occupied by the Romans and those who were not Roman citizens were taken advantage of since they were heavily taxed.  Like Joseph and Mary, the local people were considered to be second-class citizens who had many duties to fufill but few rights to enjoy.  This constituted a great injustice, so much so, that the Jews who lived at the time of Jesus were eager to be freed from Roman rule.  There were those who thought that Jesus would liberate them from the domination of Rome.  Indeed, Jesus lived in a very undemocratic environment and the people’s rights were not respected.

Democracy depends upon a balance between rights and duties.  In the absence of this balance, there is bound to be suffering, because the citizens would not be afforded a fair deal.  One’s citizenship should ensure that one does not suffer. Citizens should be safeguarded from any form of injustice that causes suffering.   If, in spite of the fact that you are a citizen, you are suffering, by being deprived from access to education and health services, or you endure some form of injustice, then your citizenship is not worth much.

Thank God, in our country and in Europe, the situation is not so, because we enjoy democracy.  In our case, it could well be that the citizens expect too much from their country, or from the European Union, without contributing enough towards the strengthening of democracy which seeks the common good.

Leaders should do their utmost to ensure that any benefits emanating from their country and the European Union are available to one and all, and that nobody is marginalized for any reason whatsoever.  Any form of discrimination should be abolished.  In an ideal situation, every citizen will have enough of everything in order that people can uphold the dignity they possess, which is inherent as children of God, and redeemed by Jesus Christ.  By taking on a human form, Jesus elevated the dignity of mankind and in so doing, he communicated a message which demands due attention.  God showed preference towards the marginalized; when the birth of Jesus was announced, it was the shepherds – those who lay on the periferies of society - who first received this news.

For their part, all citizens are to offer their contribution in order that society can achieve its objective in sharing the common good among all citizens.  Jesus taught us how to do this: his principal message to us is to love one another and serve one another in concrete ways.  He gave us a prime example by becoming human and by giving up his life for us.  The good citizen is the one who does not only look after his own interests in such a way that he is always on the look-out for what benefits he can gain from the State; he is to ensure that others enjoy these benefits also.  Even more so, if he realizes that his fellow-citizens are not being treated with dignity, then he should stand up for them.  Besides fulfilling his duty, the good citizen looks after his country and contributes towards its livelihood by paying taxes justly and offering voluntary service for the benefit of others.

I encourage the youths present, and all the people of Malta and Gozo to be good citizens.  One of the duties of the Christian is to be a good citizen.  I urge you, first and foremost to be good Christians.  I am convinced that if you are good Christians, it follows that you will be good citizens, since the Gospel presents to us those values which we need in order to form part of society and create a democratic environment where the rights of all citizens will be safe-guarded.

I wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year, and I impart upon you my blessings.

 Paul Cremona O.P.
Archbishop of Malta





DOMINUS EST

His Eminence The Lord Cardinal
Luis Antonio G. Tagle
Archbishop of Manila
Cardinal Priest of ‘S. Felice da Cantalice a Centocelle

His Eminence The Lord Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2012

Christmas is meaningless without faith—Cardinal

MANILA, Dec. 23, 2012—The celebration of Christmas becomes meaningful only because of our faith in God, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said in a Christmas message.
Christmas is all about faith, he said, thus removing faith from the celebration of Christmas is “to empty it of its meaning.”
“It is a season born of faith and a privileged time to renew our faith,” he furthered.
Musing on this year’s Christmas season which is celebrated within the Year of Faith that began last October, the cardinal asked: “What can the Year of Faith contribute to the Christmas spirit?”
“Faith is a living and sustained relationship with God. It is the Triune God who initiates this relationship by coming to us,” he said.
“Faith becomes complete in our response to God in trust and love, transforming our relationship with other people, society and creation,” the cardinal continued.
Our faith leads us to be in unity with the poor and “makes us to be sharers in Jesus’ saving mission and heralds of true freedom from all that enslaves us.”
Jesus’s coming and becoming “one like us except in sin”, “opens the door for us to enter God’s life. His obedience and fidelity is the door to God. He is the way,” Tagle said.
He stressed that every Christmas season is an invitation to everyone to “receive Jesus as the true Son of God become flesh, to accept him as our Savior and to enter the door to life in the Holy Spirit.”
Concluding his Christmas message, he said, “I pray that all Christians may appreciate more the precious gift of faith during this Christmas season. As we behold the Christ Child, humble and poor, let us thank God for his great love for us and let us respond with all the love we could give. Only pure divine love can save us!” 








THY KINGDOM COME - Christmas Message of Cardinal Donald Wuerl


THY KINGDOM COME


His Eminence The Lord Cardinal
Donald Wuerl
Archbishop of Washington DC
Cardinal Priest of ‘San Pietro in Vincoli

His Eminence The Lord Cardinal Donald Wuerl


CHRISTMAS 2012 HOMILY

Merry Christmas!  Jesus has the perfect gift  for all of us – Himself. Will you accept it?

It is a common problem: you want to give something special, something just right, but what do you give to the person who already seems to have everything?

Eventually though, the answer presents itself to believers and nonbelievers alike, and there is still time to give it today and every day: you give them the gift they cannot buy for themselves, that which they cannot even obtain unless it is given to them.  You give them the gift of self, the gift of love.  Love is something that must be given – it cannot be taken and it is not automatic, the gift of self in love is a choice and it must be freely bestowed.

The gift of love is the best gift to give and to receive, and for it to be perfect, it must be the most perfect of loves, the love of God.  On this Christmas Day, the Lord makes a gift of Himself to us, and to help us see that He comes not to overpower us, but as a gift, a gift of love, the Almighty comes to us as a newborn baby and in a family.  He presents us with this gift of His love so that we might rejoice in it and share it with others as a family, just as Mary and Joseph shared the infant Jesus with the shepherds.

Jesus, who is Emmanuel, God-with-us, comes as a little baby in poverty and need of help.  The gift that He asks for in return is our love and our gift of love to others, helping Him in the work of salvation.

Both those who are faithful and those strongly influenced by secular materialism often come to realize that material things ultimately leave them unfulfilled, and that the best present is the gift of love.  The need and desire for love is inherent in the nature of the human person.  Everyone wants to be loved and wanted. We thrive on love, and when we do not have it or give it, our lives wither.

One of our challenges in the New Evangelization is to help people to see the connection between the love they naturally seek and the Lord.  God is Love, but so many people fail to see this – the many past messages of faith have been crowded out by the messages of an aggressive secularism, materialism, and individualism, such that many erroneously believe God and His Church have little to say to them today.  Even many previously catechized Catholics believe this and so they have left their faith behind.

Thus, we need to re-propose to them the truth:  that Jesus Christ is the answer, that the gift they really need, the true and undying love they seek in their restless hearts, can be found in Him, in the little child of Bethlehem, as discovered by St. Augustine, who had himself been a fairly worldly man until his conversion. Helping others to see this connection between love and the Baby born in the stable, that God is Love and the Church is the instrument of His love, is key to succeeding in overcoming the many misconceptions and misunderstandings that people have about God, the Church, and the Catholic faith.

Love is the transcendent common language of mankind, it is how we can reach the fallen away and the non-believer.  There is nothing more powerful than love – it was through the power of love that the universe was created and death was defeated, so it will be by and through love that people will be transformed.  Even the secular materialist knows that love is the most important thing in life – it is life – but they keep going down the wrong roads to find it.  We need to help them find the right road.

Christmas is an ideal moment for evangelization. In Jesus, instead of fleeting worldly “riches,” all of which will one day be reduced to dust, we can receive the blessings of an entire kingdom, a kingdom of eternal life and love and a spiritual home, the Church.

Although we may have already bought various gifts to place under the tree, it is not too late to give the most perfect and everlasting gift that one can give, the gift of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.  When we go to Mass we can take others with us – to go see Jesus in person and to receive Him, either in the Eucharist or spiritually.  For our brother and sister Catholics who have left, we can ask them to come home, and for non-Catholics, we can invite them to join the family gathered around Mary and Joseph and the Babe lying in the manger.

+ CARDINAL DONALD WUERL
Archdiocese of Washington DC
25th December 2012