CHRISTMAS 2015 falls within the Holy Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis. In the Philippines we are also celebrating the Year of the Family and the Eucharist.
What is the mercy of God? This rich and complex reality defies human schematization. But allow me to focus on one biblical aspect of mercy appropriate for Christmas. Mercy consists in this: that God always has room for each one of us in His heart. In Jesus´ birth we human beings have been offered a permanent place in God´s sacred “space”. For God, mercy is the assurance that everyone can return to the Father´s house and find a secure dwelling.
The irony of Christmas, the great manifestation of God´s mercy, is that when Jesus was born, there was no room in the inns for him. A lowly stable welcomed the birth of the Messiah. Christmas therefore is a season to welcome Jesus and to welcome other people into our hearts and lives. Christmas is contrary to exclusion, marginalization, discrimination, neglect, indifference, manipulation and rejection of peoples, especially the poor and helpless. These manifest the lack of mercy! As Christmas is about the heavens opening so the Son of God could come to us, so it is also about us opening our hearts and arms to welcome Jesus in the hungry, thirsty, homeless, the naked, the sick the prisoners and those who have hurt us. Mercy keeps the heart of God open for us. Mercy is the key to open our hearts as well.
In the name of the Archdiocese of Manila, I wish all of you and your families a blessed Christmas filled with mercy and the joy of welcoming brothers and sisters into our lives!
+ Luis Antonio G.
Archbishop of Manila