By Christina Hermoso
“Christmas is a season that reminds us best of God’s eternal love and lasting hope for mankind,” a Catholic Church leader said as the nation marks Christmas day.
“With Christmas, we are reminded that God loves us and wants to save us. He sent His Son to save us. Jesus was born for us,” said Balanga Bishop Ruperto C. Santos.
“With God’s eternal love for man, He gave us lasting hope, a never-ending chance to be saved. That even if we turn away from God, He never closes the door on us despite our shortcomings and sins, God still believes in our goodness. In our life, there is always hope because God is our hope. Always remember that no one is hopeless. No one is useless. No life is ever wasted. There is always hope in life. Hope in God alone and not on guns or gold nor on unreliable leaders,” Santos said.
Christmas, the prelate said, is also a season to share.
“God cares for us immensely thus a Savior was given to us. Jesus was born. This Christmas, let us extend God’s care and compassion to others. Let us share and give not only from our excesses. For those seeking public office, give not for media mileage but from a sincere heart that genuinely desires to help,” Santos stressed.
Healing is also a part of the Christmas season, the Church leader said.
“Lastly, Christmas is a season of healing. With the coming of Jesus, He restores our broken relationship with God. Jesus redeems us from our own selfishness and sins. The best Christmas gift for our country is healing. Let us heal our country from irresponsible and materialistic mining, and illegal logging. Heal our people from corrupt and immoral officials. Let us heal our society from senseless killings, from fake news, from the proliferation of illegal drugs and gambling. Let us heal our children from abusive and offensive languages and from scandalous jokes,” Santos said.
Meanwhile, Roman Catholics from around the world will await Pope Francis’ sixth ‘Urbi et Orbi’ (To the city of Rome and to the world) papal address and apostolic blessing at noon on Christmas day (7 p.m. Manila time) from the central balcony of the Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. Part of the blessing is the remission of all temporal punishment due to sin through a plenary indulgence attached to the Papal blessing.
The Birth of Jesus
According to tradition, God’s eternal plan for man’s redemption is centered on the Savior’s Birth. Saint Paul in Galatians 4:45 said, “When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, so that He might redeem those who are under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
The Birth of Jesus to the Blessed Mother during the days of Caesar Augustus, the emperor of Rome who ruled from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D., was a fulfillment of an Old Testament messianic prophecy. In the Scriptures, there are two accounts, namely Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:26 and 2:40, narrating the events surrounding the Birth of Jesus more than 2,000 years ago.
Also called Christmastide, “Christmas is a celebration of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word, the Son of God, and through this Incarnation, the world is transfigured and restored,” the Catholic Church said.