Franciscan Friars, St. Saviour's Friary, St. Francis Street 1- Jerusalem
Phone: 972-2-6284368 or 972-2-6287767 - Fax: 972-2-6284717. eMail: custodia@netvision.net.il

Christmas 2000

A message from the Franciscans of the Holy Land

the star of bethlehem From Bethlehem, to men and women of goodwill everywhere, our best wishes for peace

It was from here, on that first Christmas 2000 years ago that the same wish was first proclaimed. Every year filled with feelings of joy and honour we renew that same wish, fully aware that ‘goodwill’ is first of all the ‘loving will’ with which God loves us all, men and women of every race, nation, language, faith and culture. It is through this Love which comes down from on high that we are all brothers and sisters.

It was to remind us of this and to plant it firmly in our hearts and minds that God came among us. Here in Bethlehem he became a child and our brother: A child is born for us; a son is given to us, and it is in him that we are brothers and sisters. The Holy Grotto in Bethlehem then, is the site of the fundamental lesson for peace, and therefore for the happiness and prosperity of the world. It is love alone that saves humanity. It is love, such as God’s great love, both sure and strong, that has the courage to make oneself small and powerless. Only such a great God is capable of having the courage to make himself thus.

As we contemplate Jesus on Christmas Night, we cannot do less than think about the manmade challenges to believing in love. Nor can we do less than consider the evil with its painful consequences that we inflict on ourselves. In this Holy Land, a land that is blessed yet sorely tried, we are witnesses to these challenges and this pain.

During this Jubilee Year, now approaching its end, we had the extraordinary blessing of the visit of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. Although he was uncertain and slow in his walk and humble in his presence among us, we welcomed him as a clear prophetic sign of love, and as a courageous and decisive man of secure faith. This was weakness revealing power!

And now at Christmas, while we are in adoration before the child of Bethlehem, that gesture encourages us to trust that even in this delicate moment for our people, the message of peace,

goodness and reconciliation announced in that Holy Night will be at last accepted by every person all over the world.

Brothers and sisters of goodwill, share with us this sure hope. This is our Christmas wish.

 

Custody of the Holy Land
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Created / Updated Wednesday, December 20, 2000 at 18:24:56 by John Abela ofm
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