June 14, 2021

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Archbishop of San Juan invites you to “not fear” this Christmas


On the occasion of Christmas, the Archbishop of San Juan, Roberto González Nieves, invited Puerto Ricans this Friday to “not fear” after a year with so much “global suffering” and which has caused Puerto Rico to live “scared” .

“At Christmas we learn that, for what the human being is impossible, for God it is possible,” he said in his message to the people.

The religious, leader of the Catholic Church, explained that despite the sad year, the celebration of the birth of Jesus fills the world with hope.

“It seems to many of us to live in a scared Puerto Rico. We are frightened by the repeated four-year after four-year corruption, tribalism, murders, gender violence, hate crime, intolerance, poverty, especially among boys and girls. It scares us when religion is politicized or used to throw stones instead of bandaging wounds; It frightens us when the religious sector fails and does not bear witness of faith and fidelity, when we seem to be anti-signs of the gospel of Christ himself. We are scared when the government does not work, when young people do not study or when education fails, when we fail in health, security and the elimination of poverty and in addressing unemployment; and when we do not comply with the measures to avoid Covid. However, this and every Christmas, we are invited not to fear, we are invited to trust, ”said González Nieves.

Here is the entire Christmas message from the Archbishop of San Juan:

“Today the Church in the whole world rises with the always renewed and joyful news:« Do not fear, because I bring you good news, a great joy for all the people: Today, in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you , which is the Messiah, the Lord. And this will serve as a sign: they will find a newborn baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

This is an advertisement that does not come as media propaganda for you to market a product. If not, it contains the most important words of our lives. They are words that come from heaven, because they come from the angel of the Lord.

Today God makes himself fully present in humanity in the Mystery of Christmas, that is, of his Incarnation. Today, in 2020, a year of so much global suffering, that same joyful news is being delivered to us again. He, in an act of immense and unmistakable love, decides to camp in our midst. Decide to incarnate. He decides to reveal himself with a human face: “The word became flesh and camped in our midst”, as Saint John tells us. At Christmas God becomes ours. It is God-With-Us, between us, for us.

Since that first Christmas, the presence of our Creator and Savior is continuous. He continues to make himself present to us with his love, his Word, his Gospel, his sacraments, his Church and in the witness of so many old men and women, men and women, young people and children.

“Do not be afraid,” says the angel to the shepherds and says to all of us. How timely are those words today in our beloved Puerto Rico. How much fear does the pandemic, hurricanes and earthquakes that are present with great intensity until today? How scared of the economic situation that affects jobs, retirement plans, fringe benefits gives us? How much fear does global news such as global warming, climate change, thaw, warfare, famine, child poverty and growing inequality cause us?

However, the event of Christmas invites us not to fear. “Do not fear” is the refrain of God especially after Christmas. “Do not fear” is a “trending” of the Bible, because it is said 365 times and is the word that is repeated the most in the Gospels. The Angel said it to Mary at the Annunciation, to Zacharias in the temple, to Joseph in his dreams; Jesus tells the disciples when he walked on the water and he says it to the disciples at the transfiguration; the angel tells the women on the morning of the resurrection and Jesus when he appears risen to the apostles.

Pope Francis used to say: “Bethlehem is the remedy for fear, because despite man’s“ no ”, there God always says“ yes ”: God will be with us forever. And so that his presence does not inspire fear, he becomes a tender child. Fear not: he does not say this to the saints, but to the shepherds, simple people who at that time were not distinguished precisely by finesse and devotion. The Son of David is born among shepherds to tell us that no one will ever be alone; we have a Pastor who overcomes our fears and loves us all, without exception. “

It seems to many of us to live in a scared Puerto Rico. We are frightened by the repeated four-year after four-year corruption, tribalism, murders, gender violence, hate crime, intolerance, poverty, especially among boys and girls. It scares us when religion is politicized or used to throw stones instead of bandaging wounds; It frightens us when the religious sector fails and does not bear witness of faith and fidelity, when we seem to be anti-signs of the gospel of Christ himself. We are scared when the government does not work, when young people do not study or when education fails, when we fail in health, security and the elimination of poverty and in addressing unemployment; and when we do not comply with the measures to avoid Covid.

However, this and every Christmas, we are invited not to fear, we are invited to trust. Why? Because at Christmas we learn that, for what the human being is impossible, for God it is possible: the sterile conceive; the Virgin gives birth; the simple, poor and humble shepherds are made present participants in Christmas. At Christmas all the love of God is manifested; his closeness, his desire to be in our midst, to rejoice, to save us. On the first Christmas the Light was made, and that Light is the spark that ignites a new humanity. That Light illuminates all hope. Puerto Rico, like Abraham, must always believe and trust God against all hope. The Christmas Mystery is the remedy for fears. Let’s embrace that Mystery.

Today is Christmas and every Christmas always calls us to Christian courage; invites us to the resilience that we have already been able to demonstrate; always invites us to believe in our people; challenges us to fight because a new and better homeland is always possible and, above all, the life that is born in Christ calls us to value, respect and recognize the dignity of all human life, from its existence in the womb, during each stage of his life, poor or rich, man or woman, of any color, of any lifestyle. Christmas is the great school of love, humility, simplicity and respect for everyone. Let us welcome that Child who is a sign of God. Walk us to the manger. Let us be worshipers of the living God. Virgin of Bethlehem, pray for us ”.



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