To Reconcile All Things In Christ
His Eminence The Lord Cardinal
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