A Catholic Monthly Magazine

The message of Christmas

Like the shepherds who first went with haste to the stable, let us halt in wonder before the sign that God has given us: “A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12). In silence, let us fall to our knees and worship.

What does that Child, born for us of the Virgin Mary, have to tell us? What is the universal message of Christmas? It is that God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters.

This truth is the basis of the Christian vision of humanity. Without the fraternity that Jesus Christ has bestowed on us, our efforts for a more just world fall short, and even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty.

A message of fraternity

For this reason, my wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity: fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture; fraternity among people with different ideas, yet capable of respecting and listening to one another; fraternity among persons of different religions.

Jesus came to reveal the face of God to all those who seek him.

The face of God has been revealed in a human face. It did not appear in an angel, but in one man, born in a specific time and place. By his incarnation, the Son of God tells us that salvation comes through love, acceptance, respect for this poor humanity of ours, which we all share in a great variety of races, languages, and cultures. Yet all of us are brothers and sisters in humanity!

Differences enrich us

Our differences, then, are not a detriment or a danger; they are a source of richness. As when an artist is about to make a mosaic: it is better to have tiles of many colours available, rather than just a few!

An unbreakable bond

The experience of families teaches us this: as brothers and sisters, we are all different from each other. We do not always agree, but there is an unbreakable bond uniting us, and the love of our parents helps us to love one another. The same is true for the larger human family, but here, God is our ‘parent’, the foundation and strength of our fraternity.

Fraternal bonds

May this Christmas help us to rediscover the bonds of fraternity linking us together as individuals and joining all peoples.

May the little Child whom we contemplate today in the manger, in the cold of the night, watch over all the children of the world, and every frail, vulnerable and discarded person. May all of us receive peace and consolation from the birth of the Saviour, and, in the knowledge that we are loved by the one heavenly Father, realise anew that we are brothers and sisters, and come to live as such!

Source: Vatican website, from the Pope’s ‘Urbi et Orbi’ message, Christmas 2018

Sunday of the Word of God

The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the word of God. This Sunday of the Word of God will thus be a fitting part of that time of the year when we are encouraged to strengthen our bonds with the Jewish people and to pray for Christian unity. This is more than a temporal coincidence: the celebration of the Sunday of the Word of God has ecumenical value, since the Scriptures point out, for those who listen, the path to authentic and firm unity.

Source: Motu Proprio Aperuit illis,
30 September 2019 

On Listening to the Word

When we hear the Word of God, what is happening in our hearts? Do I follow the Word of God attentively? Do I let it touch my heart, or do I stay there looking at the ceiling and thinking about other things, and the Word enters one ear and goes out the other, without reaching my heart? How do I listen to the Word of God? Or don’t I listen to it? How do I recognise the Lord in his Word, which is the Bible?

Do I prepare myself so that the Word will reach my heart? And when the Word reaches my heart, are there tears of joy and celebration? The Word of God makes us joyful; the encounter with the Word of God fills us with joy and this joy is my strength. 

Source: Zenit, from the Pope’s homily on 3 October 2019

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