TO THE ALL-HONOURABLE CLERGY AND FLOCK OFPHILIPPINE-VIETNAMESE DIOCESE.
“Thy Nativity, o Christ our God, has shone upon the world with the light of knowledge…”Beloved of Christ our Saviour, venerable fathers, dear brothers and sisters! In the midst of the continuous anxieties and sorrows of our present life, as a solemn good news, this majestic Church song is once again heard, proclaiming the Nativity of Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ the Savior into the world is the beginning of a new era not only in the chronology. God makes a New Covenant with mankind, based on new relationships, on the principles of love and grace.The bright and joyful feast of the Nativity of Christ is a reminder to us that we, Christians, are called to warm this world, at least in the small part where the Lord God has placed us. Look around you and be attentive to those whom Christ sends to us today in their need. And let everyone in his place honestly and responsibly, in a Christian way, do what he is called to do, so that people, seeing our good deeds, will glorify our Father Who is in heaven (see: Matthew 5: 16).The past year has been a year of upheaval and great challenges for all of us. Due to restrictions, for many months we have not been able to share joint worship services with you, with the flock of the Philippines and Vietnam entrusted to me, and to build a full-fledged Church life in our parishes. All mankind is now suffering from a pernicious plague, but it is not always aware what is the source of its disease. We look with concern at the challenges that the current world with its “liberal” values poses to us, at the temptations that are aimed primarily at our children and young people. Aggressive propaganda of all kinds of entertainment and moral permissiveness — this is the corrupting spirit of this age, which the Apostle Paul warns us against (see: ROM. 12: 2). One of the reasons for these difficult trials we see is that atheism is increasingly penetrating the life of our people, we are faced with spiritual emptiness, lies, untruths, we are in contact with human cruelty, revenge and malice, we are tired of the hustle and bustle of all the complex modern life, from corroding doubts, from uncertainty in the future, from the torment of an uneasy conscience.Humanity has reached the edge of the abyss and is hungry for redemption. And this redemption is coming, as the Church solemnly proclaims to us:Christ is born – glorify ye Him,Christ is coming from heaven – meet ye Him,Christ is on earth – be ye exalted!Christ comes again to our place of sorrow, to wipe away the tears of crying and heal our spiritual and bodily ulcers, enlighten those sitting in darkness, to cast down the proud and exalt the humble, to return freedom to the captives of sin, to comfort the brokenhearted and to give them “an ornament of glory instead of a spirit of despondency, the anointing of joy, instead of ashes” (Isaiah 61, 1-3).If we repent and turn to God with all our hearts, He will turn His face to us. Bowed down by our prayers and our sorrows, He will take pity on us and finally will grant us a pleasant summer, full of peace and joy, for His power is unspeakable, His love is inexhaustible and His truth abides forever.Dear pastors, pious laymen! With thanksgiving to God, let us enter the coming new year as the summer of God’s goodness, for there is no greater good for us than the life that the Creator has given us. I sincerely believe that in the coming year, the Lord will bless us to meet, pray together and thank the all-merciful Creator for all that He shows us in our lives. I express to all of you the words of my archpastoral love, prayerfully remembering everyone during the celebration of the divine Liturgy.On the feast of the Nativity of Christ, it is necessary to bring gifts to the Born Savior. Let us bring to the Lord our spiritual gifts: faith, love for God and our neighbors, sincere prayer and good deeds according to our faith and love. May our Saviour born in Bethlehem hearken our common prayer and give us joy to see in the coming year the summer of God’s goodness, light and serene life, for which we sincerely offer prayer:”Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men”!God’s blessing be upon you all!By The Grace Of God,PAVEL,METROPOLITAN OF MANILA AND HANOICHRISTMAS 2020/2021 year.