Potpourri Of Popery, St. John Edition

photo: AFP/OR-HO
Christmas Message Urbi et Orbi:
And now, on this Christmas Day, when the joyful news of his saving birth continues to resound, who is ready to open the doors of his heart to the holy child?
Homily for Midnight Mass (photos here):
In some way, mankind is awaiting God, waiting for him to draw near. But when the moment comes, there is no room for him. Man is so preoccupied with himself, he has such urgent need of all the space and all the time for his own things, that nothing remains for others – for his neighbour, for the poor, for God. And the richer men become, the more they fill up all the space by themselves. And the less room there is for others.

Saint John, in his Gospel, went to the heart of the matter, giving added depth to Saint Luke’s brief account of the situation in Bethlehem: “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not” (Jn 1:11). This refers first and foremost to Bethlehem: the Son of David comes to his own city, but has to be born in a stable, because there is no room for him at the inn. Then it refers to Israel: the one who is sent comes among his own, but they do not want him. And truly, it refers to all mankind: he through whom the world was made, the primordial Creator-Word, enters into the world, but he is not listened to, he is not received.

Except by some:

The message of Christmas makes us recognize the darkness of a closed world, and thereby no doubt illustrates a reality that we see daily. Yet it also tells us that God does not allow himself to be shut out. He finds a space, even if it means entering through the stable; there are people who see his light and pass it on. Through the word of the Gospel, the angel also speaks to us, and in the sacred liturgy the light of the Redeemer enters our lives. Whether we are shepherds or “wise men” – the light and its message call us to set out, to leave the narrow circle of our desires and interests, to go out to meet the Lord and worship him.
That's not the half of it, really. RTWT. Meanwhile, Zenit's on hiatus so no text of yesterday's Audience, but AsiaNews reports it was about martyrdom (Feast of St. Stephen, after all).

B16's Christmas message to the Roman Curia(scroll past the commentary).

does this desire for dialogue and collaboration at the same time mean, perhaps, that we can no longer transmit the message of Jesus Christ, no longer propose to men and to the world this call and the hope that is derived from it? Those who have recognized a great truth, those who have found a great joy must transmit it; they simply cannot keep it for themselves. Gifts so great are never intended for just one person.

In Jesus Christ there has arisen for us a great light, "the" great Light: we cannot put it under a bushel basket, but must raise it up upon the lamp stand, so that it may give light to all in the house (cf. Matthew 5:15).


it is precisely through the new encounter with Jesus Christ and his Gospel - and only in this way - that the powers are raised that make us capable of giving the right response to the challenges of the time.

Here's a lovely meditation on the Incarnation from the late Fritz Wilhelmsen. He's none too kind to the Puritans who outlawed Christmas in Massachusetts colony.
When the technocratic secularists today, in the name of the “modern world,” strike at Christmas and attempt to prohibit its public celebration, they can take comfort in being in a tradition that goes back to the fining of poor men five shillings because they danced on Christmas Eve. Secularism and all the mythology about the “absolute separation of church and state” is simply a Puritanism debased, its original corruption compounded.
But that's by no means the whole of it.
  • Bethlehem: Greek & Armenian priests not getting it. (I'm well aware that our priests can be foul sinners too, but who can account for this kind of behavior from professing Christians?) Muslims in Bethlehem not acting very Christian either. (The first part of the story on souvenir trade troubles me less than the second portion about seizure of lands.)
Meanwhile, in Iraq, Christians packed the Churches for Christmas mass. At one Chaldean church a worshipper said:
"Last year was the year of misery, desperation and sadness," said Samar Jorge Gorges, 33. "But this year is better. So many people attend the Mass and you can see that their praying was joyful."
Among those attending were several Shiite Muslim sheiks, including Raad Tamimi, who said they had come "in solidarity with our Christian brothers . . . to plant the seed of love again in the new Iraq." Tamimi, a tribal leader, was excited to shake the cardinal's hand and asked that a photo be taken with his cellphone.