• Pope comforts terror victims in ‘urbi et orbi’ message

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    VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis urged peace in the Middle East as tens of thousands gathered to hear his Christmas address Sunday, while offering comfort to victims of terrorism after a year of bloody jihadist attacks.

    KING OF KINGS Pope Francis kisses a figurine of baby Jesus as he celebrates Mass on Christmas Eve marking the birth of Jesus Christ at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. AFP PHOTO

    KING OF KINGS Pope Francis kisses a figurine of baby Jesus as he celebrates Mass on Christmas Eve marking the birth of Jesus Christ at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. AFP PHOTO

    The 80-year-old Argentine called for guns to fall silent in Syria, saying “far too much blood has been spilled” in the nearly six-year conflict.

    And he urged Israelis and Palestinians to “have the courage and the determination to write a new page of history” in his message from the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica to a crowd of 40,000 gathered in the square below which, despite the sunny weather, was far from full.

    Earlier on Christmas Eve, Francis urged the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics to feel compassion for children, notably victims of war, migration and homelessness, but also those “not allowed to be born.”

    Addressing a 10,000-strong crowd late Saturday, the pontiff urged worshippers to celebrate “authentically,” by acknowledging “the fragile simplicity of a small newborn” and “the tender affection of the swaddling clothes.”

    “Let us allow the child in the manger to challenge us, but let us also allow ourselves to be challenged by the children of today’s world,” he said, speaking in St. Peter’s Square.

    Many children have died this year while attempting the perilous Mediterranean migrant crossing to Europe, which has claimed more than 5,000 lives in 2016 alone.

    Thousands of traumatized Syrians including children meanwhile left the former rebel enclave of Aleppo this week after four months of suffocating siege.

    Children are “hiding underground to escape bombardment” or “on the pavements of a large city, at the bottom of a boat overladen with immigrants,” the pontiff said, before reiterating his opposition to abortion.

     

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    1 Comment

    1. 26 Dec 2016
      “Tale of Two Relationships”

      “Imagine the President of a company meeting with his staff in a boardroom. They are discussing a multi million dollar project.

      At the peak of the meeting, the President’s 3 years old granddaughter would gate crash the boardroom. The grandpa who is the president would stop the meeting, welcomes and embraces the child with gladness. He carried her and sat her on his lap at his chair.”

      There are two relationships on the story:

      The “staff” relationship is:
      -Distant
      -Serves out of fear but doing everything to look good from outside
      -Performs because of obligation
      -Motivated by raise,position and career advancement

      The “granddaughter” relationship:
      -Genuine
      -Motivated by love
      -Knows the (grand)Father so well
      -His very presence satisfies

      I realized that I am not a Christian by the ritual I so religiously perform.
      (Having a form of godliness outside to look good – but inside no relationship with God at all)

      Same thing that if I am born in a garage; it does not make me a car.

      But I am Christian by what is inside of me.

      I believe that the happiest and most joyous people on earth are those who knew Jesus Christ and with a genuine relationship with Him.

      They experiences heaven while on earth.

      They can have problems, but their security does not come from the world.

      Truly, they are seated at the Father’s lap.

      1 John 4:15 If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God.

      Heavenward in Jesus!