Chaldean Patriarch: Christmas as an occasion 'of peace and reconciliation'.
In his Christmas message to the faithful, the cardinal underlines a charged climate full of ethnic and confessional "tensions and conflicts". These are compounded by pollution, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. The birth of Christ renews hope and enthusiasm, a "special" time for reconciliation and fraternal relations.
Baghdad (AsiaNews) - In a political and social climate charged with "tensions and conflicts" linked to the last parliamentary elections, problems such as "environmental pollution, climate change and Covid-19", the birth of Christ is "a message of hope, peace, brotherhood, love and solidarity, " writes the Chaldean Patriarch, Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako, in his Christmas letter to the faithful.
The spiritual leader describes the feast as a "special occasion" to "recharge" faith and "renew" hope and enthusiasm, as well as being an appeal "for peace and security". A special period, the cardinal observed, to promote "reconciliation" and the "strengthening of fraternal relations".
The birth of Christ, explains the Chaldean primate, represents "the presence of God in our midst" and "the love of the Lord for people of all nationalities, cultures and ages", united with his "closeness and concern for them". It represents a "return to the sources" of life, in order to "address and correct the most important issues of our lives" and "promote with more maturity and awareness brotherhood, tolerance, peace and love".
Patriarch Sako's words come in a climate of great concern for the future of the nation, so much so that on 21 December the Chaldean Church observed a day of fasting and prayer for an Iraq in search of "a new balance" and a future of "development and security". With this initiative, the Cardinal addressed not only the Christian community, but all those who have the good of the Arab country at heart, including Muslims.
Card. Sako, writes that the Nativity is the "founding event" of Christianity, the centre of its theology and the starting point. That is why it is important that Jesus "is born in our hearts" and "lives through our prayer, our commitment to his teaching" and "our service to our brothers and sisters", especially "the poorest and most fragile". Every year, remembering his birth, he warned, becomes "a celebration of faith" and "a return to the sources" to "face and correct the important issues in our lives and to promote brotherhood, tolerance, peace and love with more maturity and awareness".
The Chaldean Patriarch continues the Church is entrusted with the mission of translating Christ's message into a "contemporary and comprehensible language", bringing people "closer to his teachings". Christmas is "hope" when politics becomes a service "to the aspirations" of citizens through a "sincere national vision" and a space "of dialogue" in the face of the crises that have accumulated in recent years. Iraqis have the task of "rejecting differences, breaking sectarian ties, consolidating national belonging and seeking to build a civil state" that is founded on "justice and law". "On this feast day," the cardinal concluded, "let us pray for peace and stability" in Iraq and the world, and that each believer be a bearer of the values.