The Holy Father Pope Francis has given his Urbi Et Orbi message. Here is the text:
Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Christmas!
Christ is born for us, let us rejoice in the day of our salvation!
Let us open our hearts to receive the grace of this day, which is Christ himself. Jesus is the radiant “day” which has dawned on the horizon of humanity. A day of mercy, in which God our Father has revealed his great tenderness to the entire world. A day of light, which dispels the darkness of fear and anxiety. A day of peace, which makes for encounter, dialogue and, above all, reconciliation. A day of joy: a “great joy” for the poor, the lowly and for all the people (cf. Lk 2:10).
On this day, Jesus, the Saviour is born of the Virgin Mary. The Crib makes us see the “sign” which God has given us: “a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12). Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we too set out to see this sign, this event which is renewed yearly in the Church. Christmas is an event which is renewed in every family, parish and community which receives the love of God made incarnate in Jesus Christ. Like Mary, the Church shows to everyone the “sign” of God: the Child whom she bore in her womb and to whom she gave birth, yet who is the Son of the Most High, since he “is of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:20). He is truly the Saviour, for he is the Lamb of God who takes upon himself the sin of the world (cf. Jn 1:29). With the shepherds, let us bow down before the Lamb, let us worship God’s goodness made flesh, and let us allow tears of repentance to fill our eyes and cleanse our hearts. This is something we all need!
He alone, he alone can save us. Only God’s mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst. The grace of God can convert hearts and offer mankind a way out of humanly insoluble situations.
Where God is born, hope is born. He brings hope. Where God is born, peace is born. And where peace is born, there is no longer room for hatred and for war. Yet precisely where the incarnate Son of God came into the world, tensions and violence persist, and peace remains a gift to be implored and built. May Israelis and Palestinians resume direct dialogue and reach an agreement which will enable the two peoples to live together in harmony, ending a conflict which has long set them at odds, with grave repercussions for the entire region.
We pray to the Lord that the agreement reached in the United Nations may succeed in halting as quickly as possible the clash of arms in Syria and in remedying the extremely grave humanitarian situation of its suffering people. It is likewise urgent that the agreement on Libya be supported by all, so as to overcome the grave divisions and violence afflicting the country. May the attention of the international community be unanimously directed to ending the atrocities which in those countries, as well as in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and sub-Saharan Africa, even now reap numerous victims, cause immense suffering and do not even spare the historical and cultural patrimony of entire peoples. My thoughts also turn to those affected by brutal acts of terrorism, particularly the recent massacres which took place in Egyptian airspace, in Beirut, Paris, Bamako and Tunis.
To our brothers and sisters who in many parts of the world are being persecuted for their faith, may the Child Jesus grant consolation and strength. They are our martyrs of today.
We also pray for peace and concord among the peoples of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and South Sudan, that dialogue may lead to a strengthened common commitment to the building of civil societies animated by a sincere spirit of reconciliation and of mutual understanding.
May Christmas also bring true peace to Ukraine, offer comfort to those suffering from the effects of the conflict, and inspire willingness to carry out the agreements made to restore concord in the entire country.
May the joy of this day illumine the efforts of the Colombian people so that, inspired by hope, they may continue their commitment to working for the desired peace.
Where God is born, hope is born; and where hope is born, persons regain their dignity. Yet even today great numbers of men and woman are deprived of their human dignity and, like the child Jesus, suffer cold, poverty, and rejection. May our closeness today be felt by those who are most vulnerable, especially child soldiers, women who suffer violence, and the victims of human trafficking and the drug trade.
Nor may our encouragement be lacking to all those fleeing extreme poverty or war, travelling all too often in inhumane conditions and not infrequently at the risk of their lives. May God repay all those, both individuals and states, who generously work to provide assistance and welcome to the numerous migrants and refugees, helping them to build a dignified future for themselves and for their dear ones, and to be integrated in the societies which receive them.
On this festal day may the Lord grant renewed hope to all those who lack employment – and they are so many!; may he sustain the commitment of those with public responsibilities in political and economic life, that they may work to pursue the common good and to protect the dignity of every human life.
Where God is born, mercy flourishes. Mercy is the most precious gift which God gives us, especially during this Jubilee year in which we are called to discover that tender love of our heavenly Father for each of us. May the Lord enable prisoners in particular to experience his merciful love, which heals wounds and triumphs over evil.
Today, then, let us together rejoice in the day of our salvation. As we contemplate the Crib, let us gaze on the open arms of Jesus, which show us the merciful embrace of God, as we hear the cries of the Child who whispers to us: “for my brethren and companions’ sake, I will say: Peace be within you” (Ps 121:8).
Many atheists today believe strongly in free speech and expression. They complain when displays mocking religion are removed from museums or when Muslims protest cartoons of their alleged prophet. When some atheists are arrested and tortured in Arab nations for blogging, atheists will cry out ‘foul!’ The irony is that they only believe in free speech and expression when it pertains to their silly ideas. If theists of any faith join their groups online or post on their blogs, atheists who run the aforementioned will do anything possible to censor them.
What are they afraid of if they supposedly have the ‘truth?’
I myself have been kicked out of Google + communities and Facebook groups run by pusillanimous atheists who are afraid to debate me directly. At first, they are welcoming but then they become Nazis. This shows the fraud perpetuated by atheists today. They believe and promote freedom of speech and expression, but stifle speech and expression that threatens them.
While I understand moderation is necessary to weed out bad comments and personalities, not everything that counter’s an atheist view should be viewed as something that needs to be ‘weeded out’ if a community or group truly celebrates free speech and expression. When I started my own site, I allowed anyone to post comments. However, when I noticed spam bots posting comments with virus links and when some trolls came on to post vulgarity and what not, that is when I decided to moderate my site. I now only allow comments that are relevant to the post and are free from ad hominem and vulgarity. I feel this is fair and keeps the site clean and flowing. However, atheists only favor their own and censor the speech of others only become it is different. They are not fair or honest.
Let me identify a few examples.
Here is Dan Eastman who moderates the Atheism community on Google +. The rules of this community allow for the posting of links that bring about discussion related to atheism. Atheists post their links without issue. However, once I posted my links related to atheism, he had issue with it. When I questioned his unfairness and quoted the community’s own rules which allows me to post links related to the community, he removed me from the group. Clearly he is biased and is not interested in honest discourse, only what conforms to his limited scope of thinking. See the group and the rules below.
Here we have Alan Lee on the left and M. Walter Saranetz in black and white below Alan. Alan is the owner of a Facebook group on Deism, Atheism and Theism. He has M. Walter Saranetz and other atheists as moderators. Notice he does not make it fair and have theists as moderators as well. Anyhow, I was invited to this group by a Protestant youth. The group calls for members to introduce themselves and I did. For the most part, members were polite except one individual who took to issue the mentioning of my academic credentials. He seemed envious and presented a sort of test to see if I knew about what I studied. I messaged Alan and Walter about this individual and he did nothing at all. The group’s rules call for the notification of bad members to the group’s moderators, yet Alan took no action. Anyhow, I showed this individual that his question made no sense because he misunderstood the concept he was asking me about. Another individual also corrected him. After this, I seldom posted as the group looked boring and what not. Some people messaged me on it and I replied the best I could, others messaged me privately. Well, when my book was put on sale I posted the link in the group. Immediately, these people came out attacking me. The same people who were polite at first with the exception of that one guy who wanted to test me began to show their claws, so to speak. After this, I noticed that this group was just full of trolls pretending to be atheist. I posted in the group making it clear that I do not want to waste time on trolls. This clearly got under the skin of many and the attacks continued. M. Walter Saranetz even participated in the personal attack which completely makes him incapable of being a fair moderator. This continued until he removed me from the group. My removal shows the lack of integrity of both Alan Lee and M. Walter Saranetz; not to mention the cowardice of atheists who cannot handle an opposing view and just try to shut it out by force just like Islamists who use violence to shut down those who they disagree with. Here below is my post saying who I take seriously and who I do not. Notice Walter’s libelous comment which is a personal attack and notice the rules prohibit personal attacks.
|fake reviews posted out of spitefulness and envy|
Atheists today who push atheism as a form of free speech and expression while claiming religion is a controlling Fascist system are delusional. They demonstrate that atheism is a fraud. It is a sham that contradicts itself by pretending to be for free speech while being intolerant of speech that is contrary. My advice to people who identify as theist (Christian etc) is to leave groups and communities like this. You will not be treated fairly. Those who run these groups and communities are insecure individuals who are afraid of contrary points of view that threaten their narrow scope of thinking.
Report these groups so Facebook and Google will remove them as these are havens of religious hate and discrimination. If you are a lawyer reading this, please email me.
Visit these groups and report them to Facebook and Google.
Jesus is almost here! We will commemorate His birth in a few days!
The first reading reminds us of the ancient prophecies telling of the coming of the Messiah, aka Jesus Christ (Isaiah 9:6). God says that Bethlehem-Ephrathah which was too small and insignificant to be part of the tribes of Judah would be the place where the ruler of Israel would come from. This statement tells us of Christ’s humility and how God chooses the weakest and smallest to do great things, in this case, Bethlehem (1 Corinthians 1:27). Christ could have come as a billionaire or Roman emperor. This would surely have made it easier to bring more people back to God. However, He chose a humble state, being born in a humble small town (Philippians 2:7-8). We are told that His “origin is from old, from ancient times.” What does this mean? Well, it means that Christ existed before space, time and matter (John 1:1). He is God. The second person of the Blessed Trinity. He would come as a human, being born of a Virgin. This Virgin is of course the Blessed Mother Mary who was chosen before she even was conceived. This is why she is the Immaculate Conception. She was prepared beforehand to bear the Son of God. Once born, he would be the firm shepherd of the flock. Ancient peoples, including the Israelites relied on their imagination and signs in order to ‘see’ God, so to speak. The Israelites used imagery such as clouds, whispers, pillars of fire to describe God. Meanwhile, the Pagans used statues or idols to describe what they thought God was. We Catholics have it easy. We have Jesus, God in the flesh to look upon. Now we must ask the Lord to turn us to Him, to seek His face as the Psalm of today tells us.
As stated, we have Jesus, God in the flesh. He is the Lord who existed before all things we know to exist, existed. Upon the cherubim and the high orders of the angelic choirs does His thrown or power rest. He is above us but walked among us, caring for His “vine” (Leviticus 26:12). We must turn and look to Him; seek His face (Psalm 27:8). Christ is present in the Blessed Sacrament throughout the world. We can see His face prepare to be saved if we do His will. This Sacrament reminds us of the sacrifice on the Cross which replaced those sin offerings offered on altars as the second reading tells us.
No longer are sin offerings needed. God took no delight in them. Jesus came to do the Father’s will which was to redeem the world and open the doors to salvation in Jesus’ person (John 6:38, Acts 4:12). The body of Jesus Christ; His soul, divinity and blood were offered for all of us. This sacrifice was done once and for all (Romans 6:10). Its efficacy does not wear out. As Christmas approaches, we must remember the importance of Christ coming in the flesh.
In the Gospel, we read of Mary going out to the town of Judah. She visited her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist during this time. As Mary greeted her, John leaped for joy in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She stated the words found in the “Hail Mary” prayer, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Many Protestants clearly have an issue with Catholics praying to Mary; however, I have always found this odd since the words “Blessed are you among woman etc” came from the Holy Spirit! It was the Holy Spirit who brought Elizabeth to pronounce those words to Mary. As Christmas approaches, we too much leap for joy and say, “how does this happen to me” as we recall how Mary and Jesus come to us. We must ask ourselves why God would do this. Why would God become a human being born of Virgin for each one of us? The answer is LOVE. God is LOVE (1 John 4:8). This love is perfect and calls out to us in mercy. In this year of Mercy, let us meditate on God’s love for us that He would become a human for us; suffer and die for each one of us so that we can be redeemed and saved. God’s Divine Mercy has no bounds. Let us await the birth of Christ and ask Christ to be born in our hearts. Let us be open to Christ just like Our Blessed Lady Mary was. Come Lord come!