Christmas Pastoral Letter 2004

The Word became flesh and lived in our midst

Because of His excessive love for us God sent to us His Son in the likeness of our sinful body. (cfr. Rom 8:3)

A fragile infant lied in a manger; only with the help of an angel He could escape the attempt to his life. He wanted to experience all the hardships of human existence, hoping that we might finally trust Him and recognize Him as one of us.

God decided from eternity to create man and desidered to make covenant with Him. Through the prophets He said repeatedly that He wants to be our God and wants us to be His people.

What has he to gain from this? He is infinite goodness, man is nothingness. Whatever goodness is in man, is His gift; God couldn’t love man because he is lovable, but man is loveable only because God loves him first. Man still had hesitations and did not trust God (the original sin is the paradigm of all sins), God then shortened further the distance and decided to come in our midst as our brother, and friend and companion in the journey. His name is Emmanuel (God with us). (Mt 1:23)

Even at the end of His earthly journey He didn’t want to leave us and before His Passover to Heaven he invented a marvelous way to remain with us hiding himself is the sacrament of Eucharist, setting up His tent on earth. If Moses could say “there is no nation which has their God so close to them as Our God is close to us”. How much more truly we should appreciate that God really lives in our midst.

At this Christmas of the Eucharistic Year let us finally surrender to the “excessive” love of God, never more to force Him to complain as He did when appearing to Saint Margaret: “How much this heart loves man but receives only indifference in return.”

Let us approach Him and revere Him in the Eucharist, receive Him often into our heart, keep Him company and adore Him.

It gives much joy to see that the devotion of adoration of the Exposed Blessed Sacrament is reaping so much enthusian in the Diocese. I do hope that during this Eucharistic year more and more space be created for this devotion so ardently recommended by the Holy Father.

As God took the human nature, mankind and each man shared his divinity; Jesus became present in each person, especially the least of our brothers. Let us see Him in each weak person, revere Him and treat Him, as did the Good Samaritan.

This Jesus “present in out midst” must be the example especially for pastors, parents and leaders in society.

Pastors are bound to selflessly consecrate them selves to their flock. Their time and energy no more belong to them; especially when the wolf comes, the pastor is ready to sacrifice his life to defend his flock.

Parents. Their presence and company is so essential for the healthy growth of their children. Their presence and company is much more precious than any gift they can offer. Dear fathers and mothers are you aware that your little Jesus is waiting for you like the flower is expecting the sunshine and water.

Leaders in society. They must be the servants of the people. To be close to the people should not be a mere tactic, but a sincere basic attitude. In order to think and feel in consonance with the people they must be in constant contact with the grassroots people and have respect for them. All those policies must be based on their well-being.

Many problems surfaced recently in our society. Isn’t it because we abandoned the above-mentioned criterion of good Governance? The economic factor, nay, the shortsighted economic gain has become the only guide in policymaking, distribution of wealth was taken as in apposition to creation of wealth, the gap between the rich and the poor dangerously widened. It’s a shame; it’s decadence in civilization!

The angel sung in the sky of Bethlehem: “Glory to God in the heights and peace on earth to people loved by God”. We must not despair, God’s love is unfailing, it is up to us to welcome Him, the conversion consists just in making one step. May the peace of God come to our heart and accompany us throughout all the days of 2005.

+ Bishop Joseph ZEN, SDB
Christmas 2004

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