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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem: Excerpt from the Christmas Eve Homily

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 East.

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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