CHRISTMAS MESSAGE OF
THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2013 OF
THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS' CONFERENCE, SRI LANKA

[ Fr. Sunil De Silva - 25.12.2012 ]

At Christmas we celebrate God’s entry into human history in the Mystery of Incarnation, we exult in praise and thanksgiving to God Our Father joining with the heavenly hosts. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”(John 3: 16). It is the depth of God’s love for humankind that we celebrate in Christmas.

Jesus has made it abundantly clear that his coming into our midst is to enable us to share in His divine life. “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10/10). He wants us to live our lives as meaningfully as possible here on earth in order to live with Him for all eternity. The celebration of the Mystery of Incarnation opens to us this call to eternity which Jesus offers. Hence, our celebration of Christmas cannot and must not be a mere recalling of his historical birth. For, he wishes to be ‘born’ in the personal lives of each of us.

The birth of Jesus brought about a transformation in human life. It is a birth that inaugurates an era of Justice, Peace and Brotherhood. It is the resounding message of the simple birth in a stable in Nazareth. Though we celebrate the Christmas in 2013, the world is yet to realize what Jesus brought about with his birth. The Holy Father, Pope Francis reminds us of this need to transform and transcend the barriers to achieve Justice, Peace and Solidarity among People. The Holy Father reminds us to “recover the original freshness of the Gospel” without enclosing Jesus an our “dull categories”. As the Universal Shepherd makes a clarion call for a radical renewal in our lives, this Christmas should be a time of soul-searching once again to examine our real closeness to Jesus and the fragrance of the true spirit of the Gospel, which invites us to create a more just, peaceful, and a human society, where human life and human dignity are considered sacred.

Every Christmas urges us to take a very realistic look at the society in which we live. It calls us to pay careful attention to the poor in our midst and be sensitive to the various forms of human sufferings prevailing in our society. Let us be mindful of the disturbing levels of disregard towards the indescribable value of life and the culture of impunity that appears to have overtaken us. While we engage in various forms of charitable activities, Christmas invites us to go still further and be conscious of those things that keep the poor always marginalized. Pope Francis refers to the structural sin in the latest Apostolic Exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel”. Let us commit ourselves to change all that is not in keeping with God’s holy will, thus becoming agents of peace and reconciliation. Let us be engaged in the task of making the Sri Lankan society a better place for all of us to live. As we give thanks to God for Jesus, let us pray that all of us be given a renewed joy and a rediscovery of Jesus at this Christmas.

We wish all our faithful, our fellow citizens and all men and women of goodwill a Blessed Christmas !!

+ His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
President
of the Catholic Bishops' Conference, Sri Lanka

+ Bishop Valence Mendis
Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops' Conference, Sri Lanka

EDITOR'S CHOICE