‘Tis the season for renewal of faith in God.
Amid the “commercialization” of Christmas, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Saturday reminded the public not to lose sight of the primary significance of the season.
In his Christmas message, Tagle said the season should also be an opportunity for Christians to renew their faith, which should lead them “to solidarity with our neighbors, especially the poor.”
“In a real sense, Christmas is all about faith. To remove faith from Christmas is to empty it of its meaning. It is a season born of faith and a privileged time to renew our faith,” he said.
Tagle noted that Catholics would be celebrating Christmas this year within the “Year of Faith” declared by Pope Benedict XVI.
“What can the Year of Faith contribute to the Christmas spirit? Faith is a living and sustained relationship with God. It is the Triune God who initiates this relationship by coming to us,” Tagle said.
“Faith becomes complete in our response to God in trust and love, transforming our relationship with other people, society and creation,” he said.
Tagle, a theologian, said Christmas “vividly recalls the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ, incarnate by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
“He comes as one like us except in sin, because as the Savior, He cannot participate in humanity’s rejection of God. He opens the door for us to enter God’s life. His obedience and fidelity is the door to God. He is the way,” he said.
“On the other hand, every Christmas season invites us to receive Jesus as the true Son of God become flesh, to accept Him as our Savior and to enter the door to life in the Holy Spirit. Faith in God leads us to solidarity with our neighbors, especially the poor whom Jesus loves,” he added.
Tagle said faith should make Christians “sharers in Jesus’ saving mission” and “heralds of true freedom” from all the earthly matters “that enslave us.”
“I pray that all Christians may appreciate more the precious gift of faith during this Christmas season. As we behold the Christ Child, humble and poor, let us thank God for His great love for us and let us respond with all the love we could give,” he said.
“Only pure divine love can save us. I wish all you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas and a Peaceful New Year,” Tagle said.