How to live Christmas?

He brought the truth, the good, the light and the peace that the world needs. He came to free all men and women from the tyrannies that sin brings with it. He offered his life also for his persecutors and for those who hated him, so that they too could attain salvation. So that they could have a happy and lasting life.

That is why today's Christian Christmas

It is party It is a feast of love and freedom, of speaking freely and confidently of the good things that bubble up in the heart, without flinching in the face of adverse environments. A good time to recognize how good and joyful is the reality of marriage and family, how beautiful the smile of a child, how tender the affectionate gaze of a sick grandfather who barely babbles. An opportunity to look at the society in which we live with realism and joy: although there is no lack of difficulties, there is much that can be done to build, with the efforts of all, a world worth living in.

"Jesus, You, lying in a manger, are the bread of my life."

Pope Francis Homily Christmas Mass 2018

Christian Christmas

 Bring a invitation to all men of good will so that we may reconsider, so that, respecting the differences, opinions and ways of being of each one of us, let's look for decidedly the important thing: the true good of every human being, above personal selfishness. It is a feast of optimism, light, reconciliation, joy and peace.

christian christmas

"Christmas is you when you illuminate with your life the path of kindness, patience, joy and generosity."

Pope Francis

A few tips

And such optimism, joy and peace will be real if let Jesus be born in our heartsto enlighten them.

These tips are:
a) Put on the nativity scene and explain it to the children, and pray there, reliving the scene.
b) Go to the Midnight Massor take special care of the Mass of that day. Preparing well with a good confession
c) Give something of ourselves to those in need, especially of our time and affection for our family and those close to us.


Mr. Francisco Varo Pineda
Research Director
University of Navarra
Faculty of Theology
Professor of Sacred Scripture

Young people and real life

With the young people of Hungary, almost in a preview of the WYD Lisbon, the Pope was clear and enthusiastic (cf. Speech at the Papp László Budapest Sportaréna, 29-IV-2023). He did not fail to speak to them about their roots (condition of life) and, above all, about Christ. Pope Francis told the young people of Hungary that ready-made answers are useless. That "Christ is God in flesh and bloodHe is the living God who comes close to us; He is the Friend, the best of friends; He is the Brother, the best of brothers; and He is very good at asking questions. In the Gospel, in fact, He, who is the Teacher, asks questions before giving answers".

pope francis to young people

To those who desire great things, young and not so young, he teaches that "one does not become great by passing over others, but by lowering oneself to others; not at the expense of others, but by serving others (cf. Mk 10:35-45)".

Pope Francis to the youth

Jesus teaches us to riskto aim high; but also to train. A teaming up without closing in in a group of friends and on a cell phone. Pope Francis also wanted to tell young people: "Do not be afraid to go against the current, to find a time of silence every day to stop and pray". Although today everything seems to push us to be efficient like machines, we are not machines. At the same time, it is true that we often feel as if we are running out of gas, and for this reason we need to to collect ourselves in silence.

For the Pope, "Silence is the ground on which we can cultivating profitable relationshipsbecause it allows us to confide to Jesus what we are living, to bring Him faces and names, to place our anxieties in Him, to think of our friends and to pray for them".

Documentary Pope Francis Amen

In addition, "silence gives us the possibility of read a page of the Gospel that speaks to our lifeWe are also the place to adore God, thus finding peace in our hearts".

But Pope Francis adds to the young people that perhaps "silence allows you to choose a book that you are not obliged to read, but which helps you to read the human heart; a observing nature not to be only in contact with man-made things and thus discover the beauty that surrounds us".

But, beware, the Pope remarks very strongly to all young people: "Silence is not for staying glued to your cell phone and social networks. No, please don't. Life is real, not virtualLife doesn't happen on a screen, life happens in the world! Please do not virtualize life. I repeat: do not virtualize lifeThat's concrete. Got it?"

papa jovenes3

It is this a call of Pope Francis to realismrealism that needs, as we can see, silence; because "...".Silence is the door to prayer, and prayer is the door to love.". In prayer, Francis advises, "do not be afraid to bring to Jesus everything that happens in your inner world: affections, fears, problems, expectations, memories, hopes, everything, even sins. He understands everything. Prayer is a dialogue of life, prayer is life".

To love and serve

Realism and life. The danger today, warns Pope Francis to young people, is to be ".fake peoplewho trust too much in their own abilities and at the same time live by appearances in order to look good; they distance God from their hearts because they are only concerned with themselves. On the other hand, as we see in the Gospels, the Lord does great things with us if we are authentic, if we recognize our limitations and go forward fighting against our sins and defects.

What does Pope Francis ask of today's youth?

And to conclude, Pope Francis encourages young people to ask themselves: "What do I do for others?What do I do for society, what do I do for the Church, what do I do for my enemies, do I live for my own good or for the good of others, do I live for the good of others? I take a risk for someone(...) Let us ask ourselves about our gratuitousness, about our capacity to love, to love according to Jesus, that is, to love and serve. Like the young man in the Gospel who trusts Jesus. Y gives what little he had for lunch. And then Jesus performs that miracle of the multiplication of food (cf. Jn 6:9)".


Ramiro Pelliterocourtesy of the blog Church and new evangelization, 21-V-2023.

The feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ

Corpus Christi 2023: He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life (Jn 6:51-58).

I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.

The Jews began to argue among themselves: -How can this man give us his flesh to eat?

Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As the Father who sent me lives and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as the fathers ate and died: whoever eats this bread will live forever.

Bread of Life Speech

On the feast of Corpus Christi we celebrate Christ's revelation of the mystery of the Eucharist. His words are of such strong realism that they exclude any interpretation in a figurative sense. The listeners understand the proper and direct meaning of Jesus' words (v. 52), but they do not believe that such a statement can be true.

If it had been understood in a figurative or symbolic sense, it would not have caused them such great surprise, nor would the discussion have taken place. From this is also born the faith of the Church that through the conversion of the bread and wine into his Body and Blood, Christ is made present in this sacrament..

The Council of Trent sums up the Catholic faith when it states: "Because Christ, our Redeemer, said that what He offered in the form of bread was truly His Body, this conviction has always been maintained in the Church, which the Holy Council declares anew: by the consecration of the bread and wine the change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the Body is effected...". Body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood; the Catholic Church has rightly and appropriately called this change transubstantiation" (DS 1642)." Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1376.

In this speech Jesus compares three times (cfr vv. 31-32.49.58) the true Bread of Life, his own Body, with the manna, with which God had fed the Hebrews daily for forty years in the desert.. Thus, invites us to nourish our souls frequently with the food of his Body.

"From the comparison of the Bread of Angels with bread and with manna the disciples could easily deduce that, just as the body is nourished with bread daily, and the Hebrews were daily refreshed with manna in the desert, in the same way the Christian soul could daily eat and feast with the Bread of Heaven. Moreover, almost all the Holy Fathers of the Church teach that the "daily bread", which is commanded to be asked for in the Sunday prayer, is not so much to be understood of the material bread, food for the body, as of the daily reception of the Eucharistic Bread". S. Pius X, Sacra Tridentina Synodus, December 20, 1905.

On the Sunday after Holy Trinity Sunday, thehe Church celebrates Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.. That is its full title, although we usually refer to it by its former Latin name, "...".Corpus Christi". It is interesting to know that its oldest title was Festum Eucharistiae.

Don Francisco Varo Pineda
Research Director
University of Navarra
Faculty of Theology
Professor of Sacred Scripture

Pentecost: The friend that accompanies, guides and encourages

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came suddenly a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit caused them to speak.
Acts 2:1-4

Pentecost or shebuot

For the Jews, it was one of the three great feasts. At the beginning, thanksgiving for the harvesting of grain (first fruits), but this was joined by the feast for the giving of the Torah, the "instruction manual" of the world and of man, which granted wisdom to Israel. Pentecost was the feast of the Covenant to live always according to God's will as manifested in his Law.

The feast of Sinai

The images that St. Luke uses to indicate the irruption of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost-the wind and the fire-allude to Sinai, where God had revealed himself to the people of Israel and granted them his covenant (cf. Ex 19:3 ff). The feast of Sinai, which Israel celebrated fifty days after Passover, was the feast of the covenant. In speaking of tongues of fire (cf. Acts 2:3), St. Luke wants to present the Cenacle as a new Sinai, as the feast of the Covenant that God makes with his Church, which he will never abandon.

Pope Francis' words on Pentecost, action of the Holy Spirit, 2021 Rome

The Holy Father asks all the pastors and faithful of the Catholic Church to unite, this Pentecost 2023, in prayer together with the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, to invoke the Holy Spirit, "so that Israelis and Palestinians may find the path of dialogue and forgiveness".

The day of Pentecost

With the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost they make themselves understood by all, whatever their origin and mentality: The day of Pentecost There dwelt at Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when the noise was heard, the multitude came together and were perplexed, for each one heard them speaking in his own language.

They were astonished and wondered, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? How is it, then, that we hear them each in our own mother tongue? "Parthians, Medes, Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, of Judea and Cappadocia, of Pontus and Asia, of Phrygia and Pamphylia, of Egypt and the part of Libya near Cyrene, Roman strangers, as well as Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs, we hear them speaking in our own tongues the great things of God (Acts 2:5-11).

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The action of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

What happens that day, with the action of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, is the antithesis of the Bible's account of the origins of mankind: At that time the whole earth spoke one language and with the same words. Moving from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.

Then they said to each other: -Let's make bricks and bake them in the fire! In this way, the bricks served them as stones and the asphalt as mortar. Then they said: -Let us build us a city and a tower whose top reaches to heaven! So shall we make a name for ourselves, that we may not be scattered over the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men were building, and the Lord said, "They are one people, with one language for all, and this is only the beginning of their work; now nothing they try to do will be impossible for them.

Let us go down and confuse their language right there, so that they will no longer understand one another! So from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth, and they ceased to build the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth, and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth (Gen 11:1-9).

Francis said during the celebration of Pentecost this year 2021 in Rome that the Holy Spirit consoles "especially in difficult moments like the one we are going through", and in a very personal way because "only the one who makes us feel loved as we are gives peace of heart". In fact, "it is the very tenderness of God, who does not leave us alone, because to be with those who are alone is already to console.

Pentecost: Active communication

When the people in the biblical story began to work as if God did not exist, they found that they themselves had become dehumanized, because they had lost a fundamental element of human beings, which is the ability to agree, to understand each other and to act together. This text contains a perennial truth. In such a technified society, with so many means of communication and information, as the contemporary one, we speak less and less and we understand each other less and less, we lose the real capacity to communicate in an open and sincere dialogue. We need something to help us recover this capacity to be open to others.

The action of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

What human pride broke, the action of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost put back together again. Today too, docility to the Holy Spirit is what gives us the help we need to build a more humane world, in which no one feels alone, deprived of the attention and affection of others. Jesus promised this to the apostles and to each one of us: I will pray the Father and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you always. (Jn 14:16). Use a Greek word para-kletós which means "the one who speaks next to": is the friend who accompanies us, encourages us and guides us along the way. 

Now that we are talking to God in this time of prayer, we ask ourselves in his presence: do I strive to build my professional and family life, my friendships, the society in which I live, as a world built by my own efforts without caring about God? Or do I want to listen and be docile to the loving voice of the Holy Spirit, that inseparable companion that Jesus has placed at my side to guide and encourage me?

We can invoke the Holy Spirit with an ancient and beautiful prayer of the Church at Pentecost: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your Love. And we ask the Blessed Virgin, Spouse of God the Holy Spirit, that, like her, we may allow her to do great things in our souls, so that we may know how to love God and others, and build a better world with her help.

Mr. Francisco Varo Pineda
Research Director
University of Navarra
Faculty of Theology
Professor of Sacred Scripture

The sweet water of the Holy Spirit

Meeting with Catholic faithful in Bahrain

In the introduction to your speechhas told them that "it is beautiful to belong to a Church formed by the history of diverse faces, which find harmony in the one face of Jesus.". Taking foot of the geography and culture of the country, has spoken to them about the water that irrigates and makes fruitful so many desert areas. A beautiful image of Christian life as the fruit of faith and the Holy Spirit:

 

"Our humanity emerges to the surface, emaciated by many frailties, fears, challenges to be faced, personal and social evils of various kinds; but deep in the soul, deep inside, in the depths of the heart, flows serenely and silently the sweet water of the Spirit, which waters our deserts, reinvigorates what threatens to dry up, washes away what degrades us, quenches our thirst for happiness. And it always renews life. This is the living water of which Jesus speaks, this is the source of new life that he promises us: the gift of the Holy Spirit, the tender, loving and revitalizing presence of God in us".

Pope Francis.

Christians, responsible for living water

In a second moment, the Pope stops at a scene from the Gospel according to St. John. Jesus is in the temple in Jerusalem. The feast of Tabernacles is celebrated, in which the people bless God, thanking him for the gift of the land and the crops and remembering the Covenant. The most important rite of that feast was when the high priest took water from the pool of Siloam and poured it outside the walls of the city, in the midst of the jubilant songs of the people, to express that from Jerusalem would flow a great blessing for all peoples (cfr Ps 87, 7 and especially Ez 47, 1-12).

In this context Jesus, standing up, cries out: "Whoever thirsts, let him come to me and live, and out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (Jn 7:37-38). The evangelist says that he was referring to the Holy Spirit that the Christians would receive in Pentecost. And Francisco observes: "Jesus dies on the cross. At that moment, it is no longer from the temple of stones, but from the open side of Christ that the water of new life will flow, the life-giving water of the Holy Spirit, destined to regenerate all humanity, freeing it from sin and death".

CARF Foundation Experts

Pope Francis' trip to the Muslim kingdom of Bahrain. Source VaticansNews.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit

From there, the Pope points out three great gifts that come with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and asks us to welcome and live: joy, unity and 'prophecy'.

Source of joy

First of all, the Holy Spirit is a source of joy. With it comes the certainty of never being alone, because he accompanies us, consoles us and sustains us in difficulties; he encourages us to achieve our greatest desires and opens us to wonder at the beauty of life. It is not a question," observes Peter's successor, "of a momentary emotion. It is even less about that kind of consumerist and individualistic joy present in some of today's cultural experiences. On the contrary, the joy that comes from the Holy Spirit comes from knowing that, when we are united to God, even in the midst of our fatigue and 'dark nights', we can face everything, including pain, the duel and death.

And the best way to preserve and multiply that joy," says Francis, "is to give it. From the EucharistWe can and must spread this joy, especially among young people, families and vocations, with enthusiasm and creativity.

Unit source

Secondly, the Holy Spirit is the source of unity because it makes us children of God the Father (cf. Rom 8:15-16) and therefore brothers and sisters to one another. For this reason, selfishness, divisions and murmuring among us make no sense. The Holy Spirit," the Pope points out, "inaugurates the one language of love, breaks down the barriers of distrust and hatred, and creates spaces of welcome and dialogue. He frees us from fear and gives us the courage to go out to meet others with the disarming power of mercy. The Spirit is capable of forging unity, not in uniformity but in harmony.amidst a great diversity of people, races and cultures.

And, Francisco stresses, "this is the strength of the Christian community, the first witness that we can give to the world (...) Let us live fraternity among ourselves (...), valuing the charisms of all"..

Source of 'prophecy

Finally, the Holy Spirit is the source of prophecy. In the history of salvation we find many prophets whom God calls, consecrates and sends as witnesses and interpreters of what He wants to say to the people. Often the words of the prophets are penetrating. Thus, Francis points out, they They "call by name the evil projects that nestle in people's hearts, call into crisis the false human and religious securities, and invite to conversion".

Well, all Christians have this prophetic vocation. Since the baptismThe Holy Spirit has made us prophets. "And as such we cannot pretend that we do not see the works of evil, stay in a quiet life so as not to get our hands dirty."

On the contrary -he adds- every Christian must sooner or later become involved in the problems of others, bear witness, bring the light of the Gospel message, to practice the beatitudes in everyday situations, which lead us to seek love, justice and peace, and to reject all forms of selfishness, violence and degradation. And he gives the example of concern for prisoners and their needs. "For in the treatment of the least (cf. Mt 25:40) is found the measure of the dignity and hope of a society.".

In short, and this is Francis' message, Christians are called - also in a time when conflicts abound - to bring joy, to promote unity (beginning within the Church) and to get involved with things that are not going well in society. For all this we have the light and strength of the grace that comes from the Holy Spirit. As a fruit of Christ's self-giving, the Spirit makes us children of God and brothers and sisters among ourselves so that we can spread the message of the Gospel throughout the world, which is good news for all, while inviting us to work for the good of all.

Mr. Ramiro Pellitero Iglesias
Professor of Pastoral Theology
School of Theology of the University of Navarra

 

Published in "Church and new evangelization".

Recommended book: "Una mitra humeante" by Vicente Escrivá Salvador

A smoking mitre: Bernardino Nozaleda, Archbishop of Valencia, casus belli for Spanish Republicanism.

The Spain of the Restoration, projected and piloted by Antonio Cánovas, tried to establish a framework of cordial coexistence that would satisfactorily and definitively solve the so-called "religious question". That laudable purpose was not achieved, largely because of the bitter political confrontation and the division in the Catholic ranks.

The "disaster of '98" shocked the country, plunging it into a political, moral and cultural pessimism that would mark and give its name to a whole generation of intellectuals and writers of the time.

The Republicans, through a well "armed" press characterized by its Jacobin anticlericalism, mobilizations and rallies held throughout the Peninsula, attacked the constitutional regime and all that it represented, in particular the monarchy and the Catholic Church.

During the so-called "Short Government" (1903-1904) of the conservative Antonio Maura, an event took place that polarized Spanish society to the point of paroxysm: the frustrated appointment of the Dominican Bernardino Nozaleda, the last archbishop of Manila under Spanish rule, as archbishop of Valencia.

Republicans and liberals lit their torches and, shouting "Death to Maura, death to Nozaleda! they inflamed their hosts so that the prelate would neither set foot on Valencian soil nor take possession of his mitre and crosier. And they succeeded.

Vicente Escrivá Salvador

Law Degree from the University of Valencia, Diploma in Human Resources from the School of Business Administration and Management (ESADE), Master in Modern History from the University of Valencia with Extraordinary Award and PhD in History from the Catholic University San Vicente Mártir of Valencia (UCV) with the qualification of outstanding "cum laude". His professional experience is backed by thirty years of legal practice, being a member of the Bar Association of Valencia (ICAV). He is a member of the teaching staff of the Lluís Vives Business School in Valencia. He has also participated as a researcher in national projects. His current lines of research focus on the disciplines of History of Law, Contemporary History, History of the Church, Geopolitics and International Relations. In addition, he is a collaborator and correspondent in Valencia of the CARF Foundation.