MANILA, Philippines – Just as the presence of Jesus Christ is God’s gift to all mankind, our presence to loved ones is the best gift this Christmas, Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said in his homily during the Christmas Eve Mass.
“The most beautiful gift from God on the first Christmas was his only son Jesus Christ. [And through him God’s] presence will always be with us and will never be separated from us,” Tagle told church-goers Monday night at the San Fernando De Dilao Parish in Paco, Manila.
“The most beautiful gift this Christmas is your presence to your loved ones. Just like the way God became present [among us], I hope that we can also be a loving presence to each other,” he said.
Tagle said that people will always seek the presence of others and not absence. He used as an example the many Filipinos who leave their family to work abroad. The spouse will naturally feel sad and lonely without their loved one, he said.
“One of the things we most fear is to be alone,” Tagle said. “What the heart of a person wants is presence and not absence.”
He said that even teenagers, who often dress themselves in the same way as their friends, want to feel like they belong to their group so they would not be left alone.
Tagle gave this piece of advice to husbands for the holidays: “when your wife tells you ‘what is your gift for me this Christmas? Don’t tell me you forgot again!’ answer them with ‘I am here,’” which drew laughs from the people.
Celebrating Christmas with loved ones is the best gift a person could give, Tagle reminded the people. “Because the presence of the lord is God’s gift to all mankind,” he said.