It is with great joy that I accord a very warm welcome to all of you to this annual Christmas Celebration organized by the Archdiocese of Bangalore to share the joy of Christmas with all of you.
Christmas is celebrated not only to manifest the joy of Christ’s birth, but this feast invites us to reflect on the deep spiritual meaning of Christ’s incarnation and its effects upon the whole creation. This feast is essentially a feast of hope, love, peace, joy and mercy of God.
1. Christmas as an invitation to put the whole creation in order
Pope Francis on 24th May, 2015 published a beautiful and comprehensive Document: LAUDATO SI, “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Pope reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.
Pope Francis’ revolutionary new encyclical calls for a “broad cultural revolution” to confront the environmental crisis. “Laudato Si” is also quite a lengthy, informative, challenging and action-filled document.
Dear friends, we can certainly play our role in preserving the environment from its destruction, by not wasting food, water, electricity and, above all, to preserve the earth for the future generations. Following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi and the call given by Pope Francis, may we praise and serve God by respecting the beauty and goodness of creation! May we be responsible guardians of creation, working together to protect our common home! The Archdiocese of Bangalore has initiated to conscientise children, youth and adults of their responsibilities in this task, and proposed some concrete action plans that are being implemented in our families and institutions.
2. Christmas is the Celebration of God’s Mercy
Pope Francis announced the Year of Mercy on 13th March this year in these words: “Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought about how the Church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy. It is a journey that begins with a spiritual conversion. For this reason, I have decided to call an extraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its center. It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord’s words: ‘Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful’. (cf. Lk 6:36)”
This Holy Year began on 8th December, 2015 and will end on 20th November, 2016, the feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe and living face of the Father’s mercy.
I am convinced that all of us in the city of Bengaluru and Karnataka will find in this Jubilee the joy needed to rediscover and make fruitful the mercy of God, with which all of us are called to give consolation to every man and woman of our time.
“Blessed are the merciful because they shall receive mercy” (Mt. 5:7). And we are also called to show mercy like our heavenly Father who loves us in spite of our short comings, sins and failures. The Pope invites us to become the ambassadors of God’s mercy and compassion, especially in this Jubilee year of Mercy.
3. Christmas is the opportunity to share God’s Peace and Joy
The celebration of Christmas is meaningless if we do not share God’s peace and joy with one another, especially with those who hurt us and made our lives miserable. It is also an opportune time to share God’s love with our less fortunate brothers and sisters who are in need of our affection, care and concern. Let us therefore see God in them and reach out our help to the needy and the poor. By doing this, we can make the Christmas celebration more relevant and meaningful.
May I take this opportunity to wish all of you, the people of the city of Bengaluru and Karnataka a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. I also impart my cordial blessings to all of you.
Dr Bernard Moras
Archbishop of Bangalore