Vatican News

Christmas 2020: The light of hope shines brightest in darkness - Cardinal Gracias

The birth of Jesus is the most powerful sign and message of hope in a world darkened by the shadows of fear and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. We bring you the voices of religious leaders and heads of Christian charitable organizations as they look to a future in which “No one is saved alone.”

By Vatican News staff writer

Celebrating the birth of the Child Jesus, who brings the light of hope and salvation into the world, the Catholic Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, reflects on Pope Francis' most recent encyclical, Fratelli tutti, which he said could well have been a Christmas pastoral letter. 

Cardinal Gracias explains that reading Fratelli tutti truly brings out the spirit of the birth of Jesus: Christmas.

Respect for the poor

Cardinal Gracias begins by recalling that Jesus was born in "very poor circumstances", in a stable and "not in a palace".  This reminds us of our need to care for the poor, he explains, "to have a heart that fears for them, eyes that sees their diffuculties, hands that reach out ot them. Love for the poor is what Christmas should bring out to us."

Respect for migrants

"When Jesus came to Bethlehem there was no room for them at the inn," says Cardinal Gracias. This, he continues, reminds us of all the migrants who are told there is no room for them. "They are in the same flight as Jesus, Mary and Joseph," he says. 

Respect for indigenous peoples

Cardinal Gracias goes on to note that the proclamation of Jesus' birth was given by the angels to all, "but first to the shepherds". Shepherds, he explains, "were indigenous peoples". This reminds us that indigenous peoples, who suffer so much discrimination, must be respected and taken care of. 

Respect for our common home

Finally, the Cardinal Archbishop of Bombay in India notes that Jesus was born in a stable "surrounded by nature". There was no cry of discomfort there. This, he says, reminds us of "our own obligation to care for our common home."

He reminds us that the message of Laudato si' is that "God made the good of the Earth, not just for one generation but for all." We, however, are exploiting it, he added. 

We are in the midst of a pandemic, concludes Cardinal Gracias, and the one thing that has become dramatically clear is the need for solidarity, for us to all come together as brothers and sisters of one family.

"Everything is 'we'," says Cardinal Gracias. "This is the message of Christmas."

24 December 2020, 11:48