Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Dear Brother Oblates, Honourary Oblates, and Lay Collaborators,
As we enter the Christmas season, we direct our attention to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. In St. John's gospel, it's mentioned that "He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God" (John 1:11-12). Every year, we reaffirm our belief in this Word, and it transforms us, making us children of God and children of the light.
It's no coincidence that Pope Francis has published his exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The joy of the Gospel) simultaneously as we begin preparing for the Triennium. Just like our Superior General, the Pope encourages every person – Christian or of good will – to accept Christ wholeheartedly as only He brings true joy. I'd like to share a portion of a prayer from this document that perfectly captures the mystery of God's incarnation:
"Mary was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love. [...] Mary, Virgin and Mother, you who, moved by the Holy Spirit, welcomed the word of life in the depths of your humble faith: as you gave yourself completely to the Eternal One, help us to say our own 'yes' to the urgent call, as pressing as ever, to proclaim the good news of Jesus."
May the Virgin Mary inspire us to make haste to Bethlehem so we can encounter the Child who was born for us, for the salvation and joy of all people. May the light of the Bethlehem Night remind us of the great miracle that God became human and that true love is possible.
May this love be born a new in each one of us this Christmas. Merry Christmas to all of you!
Fr. Marian Gil OMI