ROME, Italy, Dec. 13, 2014—A Filipino Catholic priest based in the Italian capital asserts people who write Christmas off as a mere “fairy tale” unconsciously point to the true significance of Christ’s birth—the Church as one family.
For Fr. Norman Melchor Peña, instead of criticizing people who would rather have none of the celebration, one should take it as an opportunity to reach out to them.
“I believe it can be more fruitful, in the true spirit of Christmas, to love them more,” he shares.
The priest shares a story involving a military officer who took offence at the Church’s “meddling” during the 1986 People Power Revolution.
A rank-and-file soldier asked, “But, sir, who are the Church?” To which he himself answered, “It is us, sir.”
According to Peña, Christmas, indeed, often becomes a fairy tale to those who feel pressured to give and share despite their own poverty, to some who are reluctant to extend forgiveness to enemies because of a serious pain, and to others who have to live through conflicts.
“Yes, Christmas, which is supposed to be sharing, of forgiving and of peace, often becomes a fairly tale to which we are all called to be the charming prince who kisses with love the cries of our neighbour and offer them the tiny shoes of brotherhood and support,” the priest adds.
And since it is Christ’s Mass, Peña stresses the need, more so for families, to take part in the Eucharistic celebration on the Lord’s Nativity.
“The Catholic Church has always considered each family as the basic Church. Skipping the Church in this sense means skipping one’s family too, not recognizing that each member is a person who has joys and weakness to contribute and neglecting to do one’s part in the growth of the other.” (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)