Rome, December, 2012
“Once again Christmas is approaching, the feast that leads us to contemplate the Lord Jesus and in him the missionary humility of God who comes among us to manifest his great love. On behalf of the General Council and on my own behalf, I wish you all a holy Christmas. I pray for you and also ask the Lord to shower his choicest blessings on your communities and your missions.” Fr. Enrique Sánchez G.
Happy Christmas 2012
“God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life” (Jn 3, 16).
Once again Christmas is approaching, the feast that leads us to contemplate the Lord Jesus and in him the missionary humility of God who comes among us to manifest his great love.
Since this is a feast, it is not difficult to imagine that there are many ways of celebrating it and, in our society, each seems to find the one that best responds to the experience he has of God.
The Christmas celebrated at this time will be, in many places and for many people, simply an occasion to take a break or some days off work. For others it will be a time for shopping and buying presents. There will also be some who will not be able to celebrate due to economic difficulties or because they find themselves in a situation of war and violence. Others, to whom Christmas means nothing, will be indifferent, and there will be many who will not celebrate Christmas because they have yet to hear the Good news of a God who dwells among us.
Despite all this, the Lord will not fail to come and surprise us once again with the tact, simplicity, discretion and love with which he approaches our world and each one of us. He comes to ask for some room in our hearts, our lives, in our thoughts and in our actions where he can make his dwelling place.
In this way, the feast of Christmas challenges us to reawaken in us an attitude of contemplation lived in silence, listening and welcoming the Word of God who wishes to become today, for our world, the presence and commitment of God, the guarantee of true happiness and the answer to the search for the meaning of our human existence.
The crib, that icon which allows us to see the invisible God, is nothing less than the gateway to the immense mystery of God who wants to be known, to show us his face, who refuses to remain anonymous but wants to be part of our history, leaving aside his eternity and coming so close that he walks by our side in our daily lives.
But how can we celebrate while, in the world of today, there are billions of people who know nothing of the Good News? How can we celebrate when we see around us so much injustice, so much violence? How can we feast when we witness so much poverty and misery, such disregard for human life and for the values that could allow us to live our human existence with due dignity?
We are missionaries and these and other questions lead us to understand how necessary and urgent it is to live our consecration as authentic and credible witnesses of God whom we not only discover present in us but whom we have accepted as the one Lord and Master of our lives.
We are the first ones called to run ahead and proclaim that God has chosen to share his life with us and this means that we are invited to go out of ourselves, to allow our life-styles to be questioned and to assume the radical nature of the Gospel as our Rule of Life.
It is a matter of opening up to the Lord a gateway in our lives so that it is clear that it is he who lives in our hearts and in all that we are and do.
We missionaries are asked to show humankind that God became a missionary in order to meet every person and especially the poorest and most abandoned.
We are expected to continue to be the watchmen of the night who bear the light of hope, the warmth of justice and the spark of love that may help our contemporaries to find again the motives for believing and the reasons for discovering a God who is never far from us and asks nothing more than some small opportunity to show us that in him lies our happiness.
Dear confreres, let us keep this feast and celebrate this Christmas like the first Christmas two thousand years ago, thanking God for the gift of his Son because, in this gesture of his generosity, lies the origins of our vocation and our ministry.
Let us celebrate with joy the day when God chose to become a missionary to come to meet us, and we ask the grace to respond by placing all our life at his disposal, so that the Word made flesh in the body of the Lord may be known, accepted and celebrated by the many brothers and sisters who have not yet heard the Good News that God became one of us.
On behalf of the General Council and on my own behalf, I wish you all a holy Christmas. I pray for you and also ask the Lord to shower his choicest blessings on your communities and your missions.
A fraternal embrace,
Fr. Enrique Sánchez G., mccj