THIS year’s Christmas celebration might not have been grand or lavish because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but it remains meaningful as it focuses on sharing and caring for one another, said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
“Unlike before when parties were over the top, last Dec. 25 families had a simple get-together in the spirit of thanksgiving for the gift of life, for the gift of family. That is the meaning of Christmas,” the prelate told the faithful in a mix of Cebuano and English in his homily during the Christmas Eve mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
Palma said he was grateful that amid the fear at the height of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, many have survived, pointing out that only “two percent” of those who contracted the disease in the country have died.
He also thanked those who complied with required health protocol to attend mass in church.
He said those who do not have the chance to physically attend mass can watch it online.
Palma reminded the faithful of the real essence of Christmas, as the country celebrated the birth of the child Jesus.
As the entire Cebu, the cradle of Christianity in the country, prepares for the celebration of the 500th year of Christianity next year, he also enjoined the faithful to care for the welfare of children, the lowly, “the weak, the sick, the downtrodden and the prisoners.”
“There is meaning in greeting because this is what we pray for and what we hope for, that we will understand better what it means to receive the gift and we will understand even more what it means to share the gift,” Palma said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
He said the birth of the child Jesus challenges the faithful to help those in need as a way of showing and actualizing faith.
Palma recalled the efforts of the Archdiocesan’s Commission on Laity, which set up 19 feeding communities in Barangay Mambaling in Cebu City, where, he said, about 2,000 individuals were fed daily.
He also said he is sure that those in prison who were visited and were given face shields, food, vitamins, clothing and utilities, among others, know that the essence of the outreach was the birth of Christ. (WBS)