As Filipino Catholics welcomed Christmas Day, Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula encouraged the faithful to learn on the experience of the shepherds who went to Bethlehem to witness the nativity of our Lord and Savior.
In his first Christmas Eve Mass at the Manila Cathedral on Friday night, December 24, the Cardinal provided ‘three spiritual virtues’ that the shepherds did upon hearing the angels proclaim the birth of the Child Jesus.
“As we contemplate the mystery of our Lord’s Nativity during these difficult times, let us try to learn from the experience of the shepherds who heard the angel’s announcement of the Lord’s birth and went to Bethlehem to see the Christ child. We can learn three spiritual virtues from those shepherds – keeping watch, crossing over and going in haste,” he said.
He emphasized that everyone must be attentive to the presence of Jesus by discerning the truth and by noticing the poor, going beyond personal borders by helping the needy, and rushing to our Lord’s invitation by fulfilling our mission, especially during the toughest times in our lives.
“Kung hindi tayo marunong magmasid at kumilatis sa katotohanan, hindi natin totoong maipagdiriwang ang Pasko dahil hindi natin mapapansin ang pagsapit sa atin ni Hesus. Sa Paskong ito, magmasid tayo. Let us discern the truth. Let us contemplate the presence of Jesus in our brothers and sisters especially the needy and the suffering,” Cardinal Advincula said.
“Christmas nowadays comes with so much rushing. We even call it holiday rush. But what kind of rush? Do we rush for mission? Often, it is a rush for malling, shopping, spending, soliciting, decorating, and partying. Let us rush not for the consumption and entertainment that the world allures us to, but, for mission and encounter with the Lord. Like the shepherds, let us go in haste to meet and see Jesus, our savior,” he added.
The 33rd Archbishop of Manila also took the opportunity to ask for prayers for all nations and their leaders so that they can address national and global concerns, especially those affected by poverty made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.
“This Christmas, let us all get our yes to mission. Ibigay natin ang sarili natin sa paghayo mula sa ating mga sarili patungo kay Hesus, patungo sa kapwa. Like the shepherds, let us embrace the spirit of crossing over to encounter the Christ-child in the other,” he said. (Lem Leal Santiago/SOCOM/Binondo Church)