20 January 2018
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  • » 12/17/2006, 00.00


    Pope: joy of Christmas is for the “wounded”, like Iraqi refugees

    The pope drew attention to people who suffer during this season of joy, like those forced to seek refuge in Syria, sick and lonely people, and also those who, lured by myths of consumerism and false values, are lost in a futile quest for “moments of intoxication”. Baby Jesus statuettes were blessed

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The proclamation of the joy of Christmas, of the coming of the Lord, is directed especially at “those wounded by life”: those who suffer because they face the tragedy of war, in the Middle East or some places in Africa, or because they are stricken by sickness or solitude, or because, like many of today’s young people, they do not know the true meaning of joy for they have lost themselves in an exaggerated quest for the mirages of consumerism, for moments of intoxication and all forms of alienation. On this day when the liturgy makes a call to joy of the spirit, Benedict XVI urged the faithful to reflect on the true meaning of joy, found not in the myths of our time but in the proclamation of salvation contained in the word of God.  The pope remembered especially Iraqi refugees in Syria, “forced to leave their country because of the tragic situation they are experiencing” and he made an appeal on their behalf to “individuals, international organizations and governments” to commit themselves still more “to meet their most urgent needs”.

    Today there were many children in the crowd of 40,000 people who took part in the recital of the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, where a Christmas tree has been installed and a crib is being prepared. As per Roman tradition, the children brought ‘baby Jesus’ with them, that is, statuettes of the Child Jesus to place in cribs in parishes, schools and homes, to be blessed by the pope. They noisily welcomed Benedict XVI and responded heartily to his greeting after the Marian prayer. The pope said the call to joy in the antiphon of today’s liturgy, which echoes an exhortation of the apostle Paul, “Gaudete in Domino”, is not directed only at Christians: “It is a prophetic announcement for all humanity, especially for the poorest, in this case, those who are most deprived of joy! Just think about our brothers and sisters who, especially in the Middle East, in some places in Africa and the rest of the world, are experiencing the tragedy of war: how could they experience joy? What will their Christmas be like? Think about sick people and those who are alone, who are tested physically as well as in the soul, because they not infrequently feel abandoned: how to share joy with them, without being disrespectful of their pain? But let us think also of those – especially youth – who have lost the meaning of true joy and who vainly search for it in places where it is impossible to find: in an exaggerated quest for self-affirmation and success, in false entertainment, consumerism, moments of intoxication, artificial paradises of drugs and all forms of alienation. We cannot but contrast today’s liturgy of ‘Rejoice!’ with these tragic realities. As in the times of the prophet Zephaniah, the Word of the Lord addresses in a special way those who are undergoing trials, those ‘wounded by life and orphans of joy’. The invitation to joy is not an alienating message or a sterile palliative; on the contrary, it is a prophecy of salvation, an appeal to redemption that starts with internal renewal.”

    The pope continued: “To transform the world, God chose a humble maiden from a village in Galilee, Mary of Nazareth, and greeted her thus: ‘Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.’ The secret of an authentic Christmas lies in these words. God repeats them to the Church, to each one of us: Rejoice, the Lord is near! With the help of Mary, let we offer ourselves with humility and courage so the world may welcome Christ, who is the source of true joy.”

    After reciting the Angelus, while greeting the children and youth of Rome, he said: “I bless from my heart all the ‘Baby Jesus’ statues. Dear children, before the crib, pray to Jesus for the intentions of the pope as well! I thank you and wish you a happy Christmas!”

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    See also

    03/01/2008 SYRIA – IRAQ
    Iraqi Refugees: Christmas “the alternative to violence”
    The Christmas season among thousands of Chaldean families, refugees in Damascus. They have lost everything: jobs, homes, relatives and friends. They dream of leaving Syria and of being welcomed into “any Western nation, because there is no more room for Christians in Iraq”. In the meantime they wait full of hope, because “there is one thing that no-one can take from us: our faith!”. An appeal to the Pope and the world: “Mercy for the people of Iraq!”. The report of our AsiaNews envoy.

    21/12/2005 VATICAN
    The lights of Christmas, a reminder of the true Light
    Benedict XVI urges parents to pass on to the next generation the true meaning of the festivity even though in our modern, consumer-oriented culture Christian symbols have tended to disappear from Christmas celebrations.

    03/01/2007 VATICAN
    Pope: Jesus, rejected by scientific atheism or reduced to a teacher of wisdom
    Benedict XVI talked about Christmas and the “shadows” that seek to oscure the light in ways that are perhaps “more subtle and dangerous” in our time than in the past. In the face of the birth of Jesus, one cannot remain indifferent, “we too must take a stand all the time”.

    13/01/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: "Overwhelmed with joy" because Christ gives us true and full life
    At the Angelus, Benedict XVI again highlights the mystery of the baptism of Jesus, and recalls the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, dedicated to young migrants. He asks the ecclesial communities to understand and welcome them, and asks the young migrants not to let themselves be carried away by violence.

    06/01/2011 VATICAN
    Like the Magi, we seek the light that shows the path to take in life, Pope says
    In looking at the universe, which was not created randomly, they sought the true light. They found it following the Scriptures. There is a bit of Herod in each of us when we see God as a limit to our freedom. Pope speaks about Eastern Churches, currently under pressure, who celebrate Christmas now.

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