December 25, 2005

"Wake Up, O Man!"

As Christmas wraps up, I wanted to share a couple of passages first from the last paragraph of Pope Benedict XVI's Midnight Mass Homily and then from the third and fifth paragraphs of his Urbi et Orbi Message with our readers, who we hope are having a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays:

Among Christians, the word "peace" has taken on a very particular meaning: it has become a name for the Eucharist. There Christ's peace is present. In all the places where the Eucharist is celebrated, a great network of peace spreads through the world. The communities gathered around the Eucharist make up a a kingdom of peace as wide as the world itself. When we celebrate the Eucharist we find ourselves in Bethlehem, in the "house of bread". Christ gives himself to us and, in doing so, gives us his peace. He gives it to us so that we can carry the light of peace within and give it to others. He gives it to us so that we can become peacemakers and builders of peace in the world. And so we pray: Lord, fulfill your promise! Where there is conflict, give birth to peace! Where there is hatred, make love spring up! Where darkness prevails, let light shine! Make us heralds of your peace! Amen.

"Wake up, O man! For your sake God became man" (St. Augustine, Sermo, 185). Wake up, O men and women of the third millennium! . . .

Men and women of today, humanity come of age yet often still so frail in mind and will, let the Child of Bethlehem take you by the hand! Do not fear; put your trust in him! The life-giving power of his light is an incentive for building a new world order based on just ethical and economic relationships. May his love guide every people on earth and strengthen their common consciousness of being a "family" called to foster relationships of trust and mutual support. A united humanity will be able to confront the many troubling problems of the present time: from the menace of terrorism to the humiliating poverty in which millions of human beings live, from the proliferation of weapons to the pandemics and the environmental destruction which threatens the future of our planet.

Pope Benedict XVI refuses to separate peace and social justice from the Christmas Gospel. May the Lord Jesus find the rest of his Church taking up this whole and complete Christmas Gospel as its heralds.

(Cross-posted to Sacramentum Minimum).