‘God became Man to Show us His love & Save Us from our Sins’- Bishop at Christmas Eve Mass
‘God became Man to Show us His love & Save Us from our Sins’- Bishop of Mangalore Diocese Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha at Christmas Eve Mass held at Rosario Cathedral, Mangaluru. God became Man for four reasons according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. First, to save us from our sins. Second, to show us God’s love; Third, to become a model for us in holiness, and fourth, to make us partakers of the divine nature.
Mangaluru: The Christmas Eve ceremony, which is held in churches throughout the world, celebrates the birth of Christ, which is believed to have occurred at night. In recent years some churches have scheduled their “Midnight” Mass as early as between 7 -7:30 pm. And locally here in the “Rome of the East”, which Mangaluru is known as, a Christmas Eve Mass was celebrated in fervour and gaiety, attended by a sea of faithful gathered at the historic Rosario Cathedral, Mangaluru on Saturday, 24th December 2022. Traditionally, Catholics mark Christmas Eve by attending Mass at midnight. But over the years, the starting time at the Vatican has crept earlier, reflecting the health or stamina of popes and then the pandemic.
The most joyous feast in Christianity is when Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Christ’s birth is the start of humanity’s liberation from the reign of Satan who had total dominion over men through sin and death.
The Mass was con-celebrated by Rev Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, the Bishop of Mangalore Diocese, joined by Fr Alfred Pinto, the Parish Priest of Rosario Cathedral, Fr Vinod Lobo-Assistant Parish Priest and Fr Santhosh D’souza- the Resident Priest at the cathedral. Immediately preceding the penitential rite, the ministers proceeded to the crèche, the main celebrant Bishop Rev Dr Saldanha said a little prayer and blessed it, and kissed Baby Jesus, and then he proceeded to the altar, and Mass continued.
The Bishop in his Homily narrated about the meaning of Christmas and requested the faithful to give generously to the needy since Christmas is a feast of sharing and giving. He further said, “Today on every TV channel we see breaking news, but tonight’s breaking News is that Baby Jesus is Born, and God becomes Man to save us from our sins; to show us God’s love; to become a model for us in holiness, and to make us partakers of the divine nature. In the Bible, chapter John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.Therefore, whoever believes in God will have eternal life”.
” Jesus was not born in a rich facility, but in a simple manner. This shows the humility of Jesus’ first hours of life in a manger. Jesus’ lying in a manger shows where “the true riches in life are to be found: not in money and power, but in relationships and persons. There is so much consumerism that has packaged the mystery, there is a danger the day’s meaning could be forgotten. However, Christmas focuses attention on “the problem of our humanity — the indifference produced by the greedy rush to possess and consume. Jesus was born poor, lived poor and died poor, and He did not so much talk about poverty as live it, to the very end, for our sake” added the Bishop.
Bishop further said, “We have to prepare ourselves to accept Jesus. Our lives should be simple, and we need to live with simplicity. When we celebrate Christmas, we should learn to love our neighbours. We all should share our Christmas joy with the poor and the marginalized by caring for them. That is how we celebrate real Christmas in our lives. We need to recognize Jesus, we need to develop an awareness to look for Jesus. We need to accept the power of love and learn to be vulnerable and weaker. We need to smile through the pain, look for vulnerable neighbours, and think of the poor and the hungry when we eat a sumptuous lunch or dinner. We need to receive God into our hearts. Today the Lord invites us to assume an attitude of humble listening and docile waiting because the grace of God often presents itself to us in surprising ways, which don’t line up with our expectations. We also need to give gifts to those who hate us or are our enemies”.
Bishop urged people to “not let this Christmas pass without doing something good. During Saturday evening’s service, the choir sang hymns. In God, His idea of Himself is so powerful and perfect that it becomes another Person and thus God the Father begets God the Son from all eternity. Thanking everyone, Fr Alfred Pinto said, “I wish you the Joy and Peace of Christmas and the New Year 2023 filled with God’s choicest Blessings. Let us stand in the light of Christ – where Love overcomes hatred; Truth overcomes deceit and Hope overcomes despair”. Alleluia, alleluia. Today is the good news of great joy: today a Savior is born for us, Christ the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
Following the mass, spot games and the Housie Housie game was held where the faithful won cash on tickets they were given FREE! Seems like a Christmas gift from the Cathedral. Also, cake pieces and hot Badam milk were served to keep the night chill a little warm. Merry & Happy Christmas to you all!