POSTSCRIPT / December 28, 2021 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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‘Amid the din, heed cries for help, love’

IN HIS Christmas greetings, Pope Francis said: “Christmas is usually a noisy party: we could use a bit of silence, to hear the voice of Love.

“Christmas is you, when you decide to be born again each day and let God into your soul.

“The Christmas pine is you, when you resist vigorous winds and difficulties of life.

“The Christmas decorations are you, when your virtues are colors that adorn your being.

“The Christmas bell is you, when you call, gather and seek to unite.

“You are also a Christmas light, when you illuminate with your life the path of others with kindness, patience, joy and generosity.

“The Christmas angels are you, when you sing to the world a message of peace, justice and love.

“The Christmas star is you, when you lead someone to meet the Lord. You are also the wise men, when you give the best of what you have to those needing them.

“Christmas music is you when you conquer the harmony within you.

“The Christmas gift is you, when you are truly friend and brother of every human being.

“The Christmas card is you, when kindness is written in your hands.

“The Christmas greeting is you, when you forgive and reestablish peace, even when you suffer.

“The Christmas dinner is you, when you share bread and hope with the poor man by your side.

“You are, yes, Christmas night, when humble and conscious, you receive in the silence of the night the Savior of the world without noise or great celebrations; you are a smile of trust and tenderness, in the inner peace of a perennial Christmas that establishes the Kingdom within you.

“A very Merry Christmas for all those who are Christmas.”

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POPE Francis gave his traditional Christmas message at midday, expressing the joy of the day when God showed through the birth of Jesus the way of encounter and dialogue in trust and hope – ingredients that this troubled world badly needs.

After his message, the Pontiff gave his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing to pilgrims gathered in a rainy Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican and to the world via a global broadcast and live streaming.

The Pope announced, “The Word of God, who created the world and who gives meaning to history and to humanity’s journey, became flesh and came to dwell among us.”

This event that fills the heart with wonder, he said, shows how “the Word became flesh to dialogue with us,” since “God himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is dialogue, an eternal and infinite communion of love and life.”

He said that through Jesus, “God showed us the way to encounter and dialogue, so we might know it and follow it, in trust and hope.” The world needs dialogue, he noted, especially in these pandemic times where solidarity is essential to overcoming the hurt in social relationships.

Imagine what our world would be like, he said, if it were not for the patient dialogue of so many generous persons trying to keep families and communities together, preventing and resolving conflicts.

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DECRYING the seemingly endless conflicts, crises and divisions in the world, the Pope contrasted them with how today we celebrate the message of the Savior’s birth, the “source of true peace” that “resounds in our hearts” and the world.

He said Christmas calls for a response to global tragedies, recalling “the people of Syria who have suffered from ten years of war, and Iraq struggling to recover from decades of strife.” He asked the world to hear the cry of the children of Yemen suffering in the years-long conflict.

The Pope recalled the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, the town of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, struggling in the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, as well as Lebanon’s unprecedented economic and social crisis.

Despite these shadows, the Pope said, there is “the sign of hope, the Love that moves the sun and the other stars” became flesh, sharing in our plight and breaking down the walls of indifference.”

The Holy Father said, “The little child in need of everything, came to give us everything.” He encouraged everyone to ask the Lord for “the strength to be open to dialogue” and create in our hearts a real desire for “reconciliation and fraternity,” turning to Him in prayer.

Looking at areas in special need of prayers and solidarity, the Pope’s thoughts turned to those providing humanitarian aid to people fleeing their homelands for various reasons, including Afghanistan suffering from more than 40 years of war.

He remembered the people of Myanmar where intolerance and violence are rampant, affecting even the Christian community and places of worship. The Pope prayed for those working to advance dialogue in these places, also the people of Ukraine and its ongoing conflict.

The Pope prayed for Ethiopia to find the path to peace once again, remembering the needs of its suffering people, those in the Sahel region affected by international terrorism, in North Africa struggling to overcome social and economic instability, and those in Sudan and South Sudan.

May dialogue, mutual respect, solidarity and reconciliation prevail, the Pope prayed, in the hearts of peoples in the Americas.

He also prayed for those affected by the pandemic, especially women who are the victims of violence, children suffering due to bullying, the elderly who are even more isolated. He asked the Lord to give peace of mind and unity to all families and the children in their care.

Despite the challenges confronting mankind, the Pope said, “Hope prevails, a child is born, who is the Word of God… May we learn to listen to God, our Father, to listen to one another and to dialogue as brothers and sisters.”

(First published in the Philippine STAR of December 28, 2021)

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Dear Sir Pascual, It's out of topic for your most recent column, but...indulge me Before the booster shot/s, has anybody thought of conducting a study if the vaccine has really increased our immunity and that the increase is due to the vaccine & not natural immunity? Btw, is there a difference between them & can we tell the difference? For our so-called health experts, please refrain from giving interviews & public statements on the pandemic (i.e., causes of case incidences, immunity, et al) unless & until you have done 1st-hand experience & knowledge & not just having read about it.

Edgar

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