Welcoming God’s Love At Christmas – Archbishop John Wong

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By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: Head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu has used the occasion of Christmas to remind his flock concerning the love of God for every human person.

Archbishop John Wong Soo Kau invited Catholics to pause for a moment on how the culture of secularisation and relativism has influenced them to lose touch with the true meaning of faith and love.

“We see a trend where every individual is now allowed to determine what they want to believe.”

Commenting further on the current global situation, he adds, “The truth is no longer objective, but subjective to one’s right in deciding what is truth for themselves.”

In his Christmas message the archbishop has made the observation that the human race has fallen behind, “That is why the world needs a saviour!”

Christmas is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. He said it is out of the love of God for his people that he planned, prepared, and brought to fulfillment the sending of his son, Jesus Christ.

“That is what Christmas is all about. God’s love is manifested because he chose to become one of us; taking upon himself every aspect that a human being can ever possibly experience or go through,” he explains.

Archbishop Wong encourages everyone, no matter what difficult circumstances they might be in, to find comfort and joy, knowing that this Christmas, God is coming to us, that he is with us.

“He is not just with us, in a vague and general sense, but he comes to meet each of us exactly where we are at in our individual lives.

“In our incapability of making sense of what is going on in our own lives, in our brokenness, in every possible circumstance we are going through, God is with us, and he truly understands,” he proclaims.

He notes that in the world that we are living in today, Christmas is extremely secularized and commercialized.

“Let us take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of what we are celebrating and make room for love to enter our hearts,” urges this Catholic leader in his message.

FULL TEXT OF ARCHBISHOP JOHN WONG IS ATTACHED.

Christ comes to find a warm heart

“THEREFORE the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Emmanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

How humbling it is for us each time when we contemplate on the mystery of Emmanuel – God is with us, and on the reality of how God chose to reach out to us by becoming one of us!

If we just take a moment to look at how fallen our world is, we will realize that we are living in a culture that has lost touch of what faith and the meaning of love truly mean; a culture that flows with the current of secularism and relativism.

God’s design for every human person to be dignified is slowly being washed away by this current. We see a trend where every individual is now allowed to determine what they want to believe. The truth is no longer objective, but subjective to one’s right in deciding what is truth for themselves.

My dearest brothers and sisters, we truly have fallen behind; and the world needs a saviour! God is relentless when it comes to reaching out in love to His people. God had each of us in His mind when He planned to send His Son, Jesus Christ.

God planned, God prepared, God brought to fulfilment, and God became. That is what Christmas is all about. God’s love is manifested because He chose to become one of us; taking upon himself every aspect that a human being can ever possibly experience or go through.

No matter what our circumstance may be at this present time – be it a personal struggle, a family problem, a financial burden, a work issue, or dealing with the loss of a loved and dear one, or just the pain of feeling and suffering alone, may we all find comfort and joy, knowing that this Christmas, He is coming to us and He is with us.

He is not just with us, in a vague and general sense, but He comes to meet each of us exactly where we are at in our individual lives. In our joy, in our pain, in our suffering, in our incapability of making sense of what is going on in our own lives, in our brokenness, in every possible circumstance we are going through – God is right here, with us, and He truly understands.

Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us.

Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Saviour; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state? (Catechism of the Catholic Church 457).

No one can put it more beautifully than what is stated in our Catechism. God is moved when He sees His children suffering, and He draws near to them at once, and at all costs, even if it meant descending to human nature. This is TRUE LOVE. This Christmas, True Love comes down once again and wants to dwell in our hearts.

But are we prepared to welcome this Love into our hearts at this Christmas? Will Love find any room in our hearts when He comes this Christmas? How can I prepare my heart for Christmas? It is too easy to get carried away with the hustle, bustle and busyness as we draw nearer to Christmas, especially in our world today, where Christmas is extremely secularized and commercialized.

While there is nothing wrong to celebrate Christmas in festivity and merriment, let us take a moment this Christmas to truly reflect on the true meaning of what we are celebrating, which is found in Christ, the “Word made flesh” in the most vulnerable form – a baby, born in a stable, on a still night.

Therefore, we may say that making room for Love to enter our hearts, means taking time to be silent in our hearts. Let us not miss the sound of the Baby Jesus’ cry when He arrives. May He find room in each of our hearts when He comes.

The great Venerable Fulton Sheen once said, “How to find Christmas peace in a world of unrest? You cannot find peace on the outside, but you can find peace on the inside, by letting God do to your soul what Mary let Him do to her body, namely, let Christ be formed in you.”

Let us not be afraid to respond to the mystery of God’s great love this Christmas. Let us be unafraid to come as we are and surrender to Him our sins, our brokenness, our weaknesses, our lacking, and all our struggles. Let us not be afraid to let Christ form our being!

In the words of one of the greatest saints, St Therese of the Child Jesus, “A God who became so small could only be mercy and love.” God chose to come as a helpless infant to us. May we too, come to Him in our most vulnerable state and surrender to His love this Christmas.

I would like to end with the words of St Teresa of Calcutta as an invitation to all of us: “At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark this season of Christmas by loving and serving others with God’s love and concern.”

Wishing you a very Blessed Christmas!

Archbishop John Wong
Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu