RobertoSt. Luke’s Gospel tells us that the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a virgin named Mary and said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you”. But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus”.

Because Mary said YES to God, the world changed forever. Now God’s plan is, as Pope Francis says, “to renew everything in Christ and bring everything to its fullness of being, truth and beauty”. In His plan, a simple act of faith and acceptance of one woman changed forever our past, present and future; the history of all of humanity. In the same plan, the obedience of Christ to the Will of the Father, gave us “fullness of being, truth and beauty” as we share eternity with God.

But in the world, we all see and experience so much pain, loneliness, desperation and lack of hope caused by our own selfishness. Because of this, accepting God’s gift of Peace, Joy and Happiness is hard to do. But God never tires of calling us, of seeking and forgiving us and we will only find rest when we answer His invitation.

Christmas is the time of year the church reminds us that Joy and Peace on earth exists, because God wills it. As Pope Francis said, “A Christian is one who has a heart full of peace because he or she knows how to find joy in the Lord, even when going through difficult moments in life. Having faith does not mean not having difficulties, but having the strength to face them knowing that we are not alone”.

The Pope also asked us not to get caught up in “buying presents” as if this was going to bring us peace and joy. This Christmas, let’s give each other the PEACE and JOY that comes from the bottom of our hearts and souls. Let’s give ourselves to one another, in other words, let’s give Christ, who lives in us, to one another.

Roberto Partarrieu
Executive Director