(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, in his Christmas message, appealed to all Catholics to celebrate Christmas while giving prominence to spirituality, and also by committing themselves to help those who are suffering.
His message is as follows:
“Uncertainty and fear are the feelings that characterise these days leading to Christmas amidst the pandemic. As the year comes to an end, it has been marked by suffering for many; it is no doubt a very particular Christmas because of the pandemic. Amidst all this suffering, the birth of Jesus brings this wounded humanity a message of hope that is needed now more than ever.
“My dear brothers and sisters, on this occasion, as we celebrate Christmas, let it take you back to the important elements of this festival; that is, how God loved us so much that he wished to save us by sending his only son as a human being among us, making it possible for us to achieve salvation. He sent his son to the world to live his life as a human, which ended on the cross.
“Therefore, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem is a singular sign of that love that God has for us. It should bring us joy to celebrate this moment. At the same time, while we want to celebrate this moment, we must also realise that the whole world, even Sri Lanka, is going through a difficult phase of its history amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Lots of people are afflicted and many are restricted in lockdown areas; many families are without any means of income. Therefore, we cannot celebrate Christmas by ourselves alone. All of us, as human beings, are related to each other in one way or the other. Therefore, we should be concerned about everyone when we celebrate.
“Let us make use of Christmas not only to celebrate, but also to pray for one another, our country, and humanity; to redeem us from this terrible disaster. We must also be considerate in not wasting money and not giving too much importance to external celebrations, but more to spiritual, humble, and especially to care and show concern for the poor, because Jesus Christ was born poor in Bethlehem.
“Therefore, especially at this moment, when there are so many people without employment—without money, or even a proper meal—I appeal to you to celebrate Christmas with your families, but at the same time, to sacrifice some of of the ‘goodies’ that you collect in order to make the life of another family or two happy as well.
“I invite you to share the joy of Christmas, especially with those who are unemployed, under-employed, and those who are in lockdown areas and are unable to find any income, and help them as much as possible to share your joy of Christmas so that they, too, will be happy.
“I wish you all a very happy and holy Christmas and a blessed New Year! God bless you all!”