Search This Blog

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bishop Paul Tan's Christmas Message

Christmas is a time of peace and joy at the good news brought to us by the angels: the Saviour of the world is born. We should not be ashamed to announce this, as our Pope Benedict XVI told the 20 bishops of New York gathered in Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on Nov 26, 2011 (published in Herald on the Dec 4, 2011 issue, page 9.) Sharing with all peoples the infinite saving love of God in Jesus Christ which brings peace and joy is indeed very good news.
This is the spirit of Christmas. Here, in Malaysia, the excellent tradition of “Open house” should be used by us to share our love of God that brings joy and peace to all who are open to receive Him.
Besides, the Bible constantly reminds us to be open and hospitable to all who come our way, especially to strangers and the less fortunate. Is there anything objectionable in giving to anyone the love of God? If there is someone who objects to receiving God’s love, he or she must be insane.
However, in the midst of our peace and joy, our Pope also said, “Despite attempts to still the Church’s voice in the public square… in spite of false accusations by certain quarters and in the face of a spate of allegations without proof, for example, the accusation to make Malaysia Christian and the Damansara Utama Methodist Centre’s charity party to convert Muslims, etc, we should not be cowed to stop proclaiming Jesus Christ as God’s love made manifest to us humans.
Besides, it is a command directly from Jesus Christ himself before he ascended into Heaven: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
Freedom and truth are interlinked. However, freedom without regard to the truth is gross irresponsibility and cannot be considered as true freedom. The Truth of Jesus Christ gives us the freedom to, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “speak out, humbly yet insistently, in defence of moral truth” – of justice, of equality before God, of human dignity, etc. In short and in other words, we have to stand up for human rights.
May this Christmas strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ, the Truth, who sets us to be truly free so that in joy we cannot only proclaim Him but also what He has taught us! Every person in his or her dignity as a human being has a right to propose what he or she believes in but has no right to impose it on others. We should tell everyone of the infinite, impartial love of God brought to us by Jesus Christ that brings real peace and joy: in brief, our Christmas joy.
Bishop Paul Tan, Bishop of the Melaka-Johor Diocese
President of Bishops’ Conference
Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei 

No comments:

Post a Comment


New Advent