BETHLEHEM – Here below is an excerpt from the homily of His Beatitude Fouad Twal, during Mass on Christmas Eve, in the Basilica of the Nativity.
In the Holy Land, we are living a conflict that does not seem to have
a solution in the short term and which weighs heavily on the
inhabitants of the Holy Land.
This painful reality raises numerous questions concerning our future
in this country and causes us much worry. We need the answer of faith.
The answer lies neither in emigration nor in closing in on ourselves.
It consists in staying here and in living and dying here. Our Land is
holy and deserves our attachment to it, for our presence in this land is
a divine vocation, a blessing and a privilege. The flame of faith
burns strongly here, like the star of the Magi, to guide us. We need
the comfort that comes from our absolute faith in the Providence of God:
“who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able
to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with
which we ourselves are encouraged by God.” (2 Cor 1:4)
The light of the faith can illuminate every aspect of our life, our
present and our future. Faith intensifies our vision, more deeply, more
sublimely and more widely than the human eye can capture. We see
modestly, in a sense, as God Himself sees! Consequently, faith is a kind
of wisdom that enables us to make the right decisions at the right
time. “Yet in the absence of light everything becomes confused; it
is impossible to tell good from evil, or the road to our destination
from other roads which take us in endless circles, going nowhere.” (Lumen Fidei,3).
That God is all-powerful, all-knowing, faithful he loves us,
strengthens our faith. That is why, nothing should frighten us, neither
the present, nor the future, nor the troubles that affect our Middle
Oh Holy Child, who experienced the flight into Egypt after the threat
from Herod, who two thousand years ago killed the children of
Bethlehem, have mercy on our children, and all the world’s children.
Have mercy on prisoners, on the poor, the marginalized, and the most
vulnerable among us. On this night, we pray for the bishops and
religious abducted in Syria. We pray for their return and their dignity
may be restored.
Remember them, Lord, together with all the refugees.
Give them a sign of hope for a better future, that they may return to
their country and their homes.
Oh Holy Child, God of goodness and mercy, look with kindness on the
Holy Land and on our people who live in Palestine, in Israel, in Jordan
and all in the Middle East. Grant them the gift of reconciliation so
that they may all be brothers – sons of one God.
Oh Holy Child, we beg for peace through the intercession of your Mother the Holy Virgin Mary, daughter of our Land.
Merry Christmas and may the blessing of the Infant of Bethlehem be upon you.
+ Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Read the complete Christmas Eve homily: http://en.lpj.org/2013/12/24/2013-christmas-homily-of-the-latin-patriarch-of-jerusalem/
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