This Christmas, we need to open our hearts to the Christ Child of peace. There is violence and war, and so much uncertainty. We have people living in the fear of the unknown. In the world, we have so many families crying and not knowing where they are going to live, or if they even will live, with all the bombings going on around them. In our own country, there is so much division and violence. How do we, as Christians, share the hope the Christ Child brings to the world?
Let us listen and meditate on the words of two of our past popes. St. John Paul II told us in his 2001 Christmas message: "Let us hasten like the shepherds to Bethlehem, let us pause in adoration in the cave, and gaze upon the Newborn Redeemer. In him we can recognize the face of every little child who is born, of whatever race or nation: the little Palestinian and the little Israeli, the little American and the little Afghan, the child of the Hutu and the child of the Tutsi. ... Whoever the child is, to Christ each one is special."
Today my thoughts go to all the children of the world. Too many children are condemned from birth to suffer through no fault of their own, but the effects of cruel conflicts. Let us save the children, in order to save the hope of humanity. This is what we are urgently called to do by that Child born in Bethlehem, the God who became man, to give us back the right to hope.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's message to his flock during a homily, Christmas 2011: "God has appeared - as a child. It is in this guise that he pits himself against all violence and brings a message that is peace. At this hour, when the world is continually threatened by violence in so many places and in so many different ways, when over and over again there are oppressors' rods and bloodstained cloaks, we cry out to the Lord: O mighty God, you have appeared as a child and you have revealed yourself to us as the One who loves us, the One through whom love will triumph. And you have shown us that we must be peacemakers with you."
Who are the oppressors in our schools, churches, community and world today? How can we be the hands of Christ to help work toward peace today?
Let us take time to meditate on these words as we prepare to welcome the Newborn Child in our lives once again. Can we be the instrument that Christ uses to bring hope and peace to all those that we encounter?
Mark Your Calendars
Jan. 15, 2017 - "Captured by the Spirit" - Martin Luther King Jr. celebration at 10 a.m. at Holy Cross Church, Buffalo. All are welcome.
Dr. King was "Captured by the Spirit," and we pray that we, too, are captured by the Spirit of peace, nonviolence and action. Bishop Richard J. Malone will be the celebrant, and our guest homilist is Father Chester Smith SVD, from Indianapolis. The Mass will be followed by a reception and with chances to win theme baskets. Proceeds will go toward the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship fund to help youth continue their Catholic high school education.