Saturday, December 14, 2013

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE BY MOST REV. DR. NORBERT ANDRADI, OMI




   Announcing the joyful news of the birth of the Jesus in to this world, the Angels proclaimed: "Do not be afriad; for see - I am bringing you good news of great joy, for all the people; for to you is born this day in  the city of David saviour, who is the messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger" (Luke 2: 10-12 )


   During the seasons of advent and christmas our attention is directed to the the manger and the baby Jesus lying there. That was over two thosand years ago. However, we need to be aware of certain facts of our faith. While we pay attention to the baby Jesus or speak of child Jesus we know that Jesus was born, as the scriptures say, grew up "Increased in wisdom and in years, and in devine and human favour " ( Luke 2: 52 ). Thereafter, Jesus taught and ministered to people, suffered, died on the cross and rose again from the  dead.

   An unknown author has written of Jesus a statement entitled as "One solitary life ":  "He was born in an obscure village. He worked in a carpenter's  shop until he was thirty and for those  years and for those years He was an itinerent preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never travelled 200 miles form  the place He was born. He never did one of the things that accompany man's idea of greatness. He had no credentials but himself. While still a young man, the tide of the popular opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. some of them denied Him. He was turnred over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executionals gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth---His coat. When He was dead, He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave. Nineteen, now twenty centuries have come and gone today and He is the central figure of the human race. All the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that even sailed, and all the parliments that ever sat all the kings that ever reigned, put together have never affeted the life of man upon earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life."

   Dear Seminarians, dear sisters and brothers, how uniquely graced, privileged and blessed we are, that we are able to believe in Jesus, in that "One solitary Life" and now we celebrate His birth.
 
   Therefore, while we celebrate Christmas, we need to and we must remember that Jesus is no more a baby or a child and that He is the Risen Saviour and that He is alive in our midst today. For the majority of the world's population that believes in Him, He is not a mere historical figure, some great teacher who lived and died at a particular period in our history. He is alive in our midst seeking to transform this world, build up God's kingdom in our midst. He looks for our minds and hearts, for our hands and feets to do for Him the work of building up God's kingdom, namely changing whatever that is contrary to God's holy will. You and I called to be his mind and heart, His hands and feet so that together with Him we would be contributing our share for the coming of God's kingdom.

   Let us do all that is in our capacity to uphold and safeguard the religious nature of this sacred birth of our Lord Jesus  Christ. Avoid whatever that is contrary to the will of God. Let us avoid all extravagance and pay attention to the poor and the less privileged in our society.

   During the years spent in the seminary, particularly as a teacher of Theology, I always looked foerward to the annual carol service. I found the music very uplifting, amidst life's challenges, it always raised up our spirits. In a society where many young men  and women are inclined to go after cheap things, not so much after what is noble, sublime and honorable, the Brothers who sang, the insrumentalists and many others who helped bahind the scene were bringing out the best of themslves making the utmost use of their God-given talents. So sincerest congratulations to all of you dear seminarians and to all those who make this evening possible, Fr. Rector, the Director of the philosophate and the members of the staff and all the lay collaborators.

   I wish all of you an experience of Christmas that enables you to understand with the deepest possible gratitude the giftedness of your faith. May it enable you to join with Jesus the Lord who looks for your minds and hearts, yor hand and feet to transform this world to the utmost holy will of God, His Father. May you all have a grace-filled Christmas!

Bishop Norbert M. Andradi, OMI
Bishop of Anuradhapura