DIOCESE OF SOUTH AMERICA: January 6, 2014
Nativity Epistle of Bishop John of Caracas and South America
Beloved brothers and sisters, faithful sons and daughters of Christ's Church, my dear Christians,
I bring to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people (Luke 2:10).
With these words the angel announces to the shepherds of Bethlehem the birth of the Saviour of the world, Which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11). He proclaims that the pre-eternal Son of God, taking flesh, is born to save mankind as a whole, and them, the shepherds, and in their person, each and every one of us, as individuals.
Christ saves mankind as a whole in His holy Church, which within the unity of its universality encompasses the whole body of believers, and which, as Christ's mystical Body, mystically becomes another Bethlehem, in which the Son of God is ever born, forever abides, and continues to save those who believe in Him, until the end of time.
As part of the human race as a whole, we can be partakers in this divine work of salvation only within the unity of the wholeness of Christ's Church, His mystical Body.
On a personal level, also, each and every one of us is called to partake in the Mystery of Bethlehem, to make our heart a shepherds' field, where angels of the Lord proclaim the salvation of mankind; to make it another Bethlehem where the Son of God is born and worshiped; to make it a dwelling place of God, where the newborn Christ ever abides. This is what we are called to, for, as St Anastasius of Sinai tells us, a true Christian is one who has Christ living in him.
If we not only celebrate the Nativity of Christ, but live it, if we have Christ dwelling in us, and we abide in Him, in His mystical Body, while in this world, then, in the world to come, not even death will be able to separate us from Christ (c.f. Romans 8:38-39). If we live up to our calling, then we shall surely receive that to which Christ was born to call us.
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
Bishop of Caracas and South America