Palma’s message: Never give up
Amid life’s difficulties, never lose hope.
This was the message conveyed by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma as Christians all over the world get ready to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago.
Palma cited the five-month-long armed conflict in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, that left 974 Maute members, 165 soldiers and policemen, and 47 civilians dead.
He also mentioned the passing of Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
Christmas, Palma said, is a reminder that Jesus stripped Himself of His glory to share in the sufferings of the world, and to free humanity from the slavery of sin.
“No matter what happens, God is with us. He is Emmanuel (God with us). Let us never lose hope,” he said in his Christmas 2017 message.
Palma called on the faithful to cling to God, and to make room for Jesus in their hearts.
“I would like you to reflect on how the child Jesus was born in a crib surrounded by animals. That happened because no one received Mary and Joseph in their homes,” the 67-year-old prelate said.
“He shouldn’t have been born there because He is God. And so we tell him ‘Lord, if there are people who did not accept you, I invite you to live in my heart. I welcome you in our family. We welcome you in our community,’” Palma added.
With God, he said everything is fine no matter how gloomy the circumstances may be.
“When He is with us, there is renewal; a change for the better. In effect, there is love, mercy, and forgiveness,” Palma said.
Journeying with the Lord, he said, should lead one to helping others so as to extend God’s mercy and love.
“His coming brought hope and joy to people. I hope, in our own little ways, we can be instruments of hope and joy to other people. Just as Jesus was a gift to us from God the Father, may we also become a gift to other people,” he said.
“In that way, we can make our community, archdiocese, and country a better place to live in. Because God is with us, we have every reason to hope for a better tomorrow,” added Palma.
The archbishop will lead the 9 p.m. Christmas Mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral on December 24.
The Christmas season officially starts on the evening of Dec. 24 and ends on the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord or commonly known as the feast of the Three Kings which falls on January 7 next year.
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