God sent his son into the world to save it from evil, pride and violence, Pope Benedict XVI said in his Urbi et Orbi message on Christmas Day.
“The child whom we contemplate is our salvation! He has brought to the world a universal message of reconciliation and peace,” the Pope said as he stood on the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica and gave his solemn Christmas blessing.
Tens of thousands of people were gathered in St Peter’s Square for the noon address and blessing. Under bright skies they listened to the music of military bands, admired the Vatican’s Nativity scene and took pictures of the Swiss Guards, who were wearing armour over their colourful medieval uniforms.
In his Christmas message, as in his homily at Mass the night before, Pope Benedict spoke about God’s desire to save humanity and his decision to do that by being born in Bethlehem, living among people, dying for them and rising from the dead.
“Come to save us! This is the cry raised by men and women in every age, who sense that by themselves they cannot prevail over difficulties and dangers,” the Pope said. Jesus “is the hand God extends to humanity to draw us out of the mire of sin and to set us firmly on rock, the secure rock of his truth and love”.
Pope Benedict said that most of the world’s problems were caused by human sin, “the evil of separation from God, the prideful presumption of being self-sufficient, of trying to compete with God and to take his place, to decide what is good and evil, to be the master of life and death”.
Jesus came to earth to bring people back to God, to turn them from their sin and to promote reconciliation, dialogue and co-operation, he said.
As is customary, Pope Benedict used his message to ask Christians to pray and offer concrete help to people who are suffering this Christmas, from famine in the Horn of Africa, flooding in Thailand and the Philippines, tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, violence in Syria, a lack of peace and security in Iraq and Afghanistan, the struggle for democracy and human rights in across North Africa and the Middle East, and for the people of Burma, South Sudan and Africa’s Great Lakes region.From the greatest of publications, the Catholic Herald
FALL ON YOUR KNEES! O HEAR, the SACRED VOICES!