Cardinal Pietro Parolin celebrated Mass in the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Erbil, Iraq, on Thursday. The Holy See’s Cardinal Secretary of State is visiting Iraq during the Christmas season, with a journey that began in Baghdad on Christmas Eve.
In his homily, Cardinal Parolin recognized the “great generosity” displayed by the local community in welcoming Christian refugees, especially from Mosul and the Plain of Nineveh. “Hatred and intolerance,” he said, “were countered by solidarity and closeness” on the part of all those who supported suffering Christians and other Iraqis.
“You are a Church of martyrs,” Cardinal Parolin said to the local community. “The blood of your martyrs and the witness of faith given by so many of your brothers and sisters represent a treasure for the Church and a seed of new vitality.”
Read full article here; https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2018-12/cardinal-pietro-parolin-erbil-christmas-homily-chaldean-catholic.html
Hundreds of locals and foreign visitors milled in Manger Square as bagpipe-playing Palestinian Scouts paraded past a giant Christmas tree. Crowds flooded the Church of the Nativity, venerated as the traditional site of Jesus’s birth, and waited to descend into the ancient grotto. Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Maaya said all Bethlehem hotels were fully booked, and the city was preparing to host an “astounding” 10,000 tourists overnight.
Palestinian security personnel and vehicles stationed around the square reminded visitors that amid the merriment, they couldn’t quite escape the city’s political reality. Bethlehem is located in the Palestinian-controlled area of the West Bank, and much of the city lies behind Israel’s separation barrier.
In anticipation of the midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity, the climax of Christmas Eve celebrations, Palestinians and pilgrims huddled in groups, some singing “Silent Night” and carrying candles.
Read full article here; https://www.apnews.com/f2d8c4bc0cd14410890982739d1e2941
“Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Christmas!”, Pope Francis said to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Christmas Day. “To you, the faithful of Rome, to you, the pilgrims, and to all who are linked to us from every part of the world, I renew the joyous proclamation of Bethlehem: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those whom he favors’ (Lk 2:14) …”
“A particular thought goes to our brothers and sisters who celebrate the Birth of the Lord in difficult, if not hostile situations, especially where the Christian community is a minority, often vulnerable or not taken into account. May the Lord grant that they, and all minorities, may live in peace and see their rights recognized, especially the right to religious freedom…
May the little Child whom we contemplate today in the manger, in the cold of the night, watch over all the children of the world, and every frail, vulnerable and discarded person. May all of us receive peace and consolation from the birth of the Savior and, in the knowledge that we are loved by the one heavenly Father, realize anew that we are brothers and sisters and come to live as such!”
Read full message of Urbi et Orbi Of His Holiness Pope Francis here; http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/urbi/documents/papa-francesco_20181225_urbi-et-orbi-natale.html
Nazareth was a lovely little town snuggled in the hills overlooking the broad and fertile Plain of Esdraelon. It consisted primarily of some small white stone houses, a synagogue built on its highest knoll, and a marketplace at the entrance to the village. When the New Testament era dawned, its population seems to have numbered little more than one hundred, mostly farmers, but also some skilled craftsmen whose shops were found in the marketplace—a potter, a weaver, a dyer, a blacksmith, and a carpenter. The most momentous events of all human history were to involve the people associated with that humble carpenter shop in Nazareth.
The carpenter himself, a robust man in the prime of life named Joseph, was engaged to a young girl named Mary, probably still in her teen years. She was a girl upon whom God had bestowed much grace (“favored one,” Luke 1:28). She was a sinner like all the rest of us, and she frankly admitted her low estate and her need for God’s gracious salvation (cf. Luke 1:47, 48). But she had responded enthusiastically to His offer of forgiveness and had been daily appropriating His limitless grace for growth and godliness. She was greatly graced of God. And she lived with a sense of God’s presence in her life. The Lord was with her (Luke 1:28). She enjoyed a beautiful moment-by-moment fellowship with God.
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It’s four days after Christmas, and the warm feelings we associate with the holidays are beginning to fade. So what now? What difference will Jesus’ coming to live among us make in our lives? How will it help us to love each other and remain “in the light” (1 John 2:8)?
For one thing, because Jesus became one of us, we now know what love looks like in real-life situations. On every page of the Gospels, he has shown us that love is about making concrete decisions to put other people’s interests before our own, He showed this by dining with people no one else wanted to associate with (Luke 19:1-10). Or feeding people who were hungry (John 6:1-15). Or asking someone suffering in silence to articulate what he needs (Luke 18:35-43). Or forgiving someone who has sinned grievously (John 8:1-11).
If this list makes it sound as if Jesus has set the bar too high for you, don’t worry. Jesus knows your strengths and weaknesses, and he is ready to help you. You don’t have to figure out how to love on your own. Jesus’ own love, his creativity, and his compassion can become your love, creativity and compassion. Slowly. Gradually. Over time and through trial and error.Read More »
Once upon a time during the creation of life…
God created the Dog and said:
“Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.”
The Dog said: “That’s a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I will give you back the other ten?”
So God agreed.
Then God created the Monkey and said:
“Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I will give you a twenty-year life span.”
The Monkey said: “Monkey tricks for twenty years? That’s a pretty long time to perform. How about I five you back ten like the Dog did?”
And God agreed.
Then God created the Cow and said:
“You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer’s family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.”
The Cow said: “That’s kind of tough life you want me to live for sixty years… How about twenty and I will give back the other forty?”
And God agreed again.
Thereafter God created humans and said:
“Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I will give you twenty years.”Read More »