Baghdad -- The period of Advent that prepares for the coming of Christ is an occasion of "rebirth of huamnity", According to which man becomes human, not a "predatory beast". In fact, the status of human in Christ has been elevated to a "complete-perfect humanity" [the term used in Chaldean-Syriac language is "mithbarnashutha", which means humanization], writes the Chaldean primate, Card Louis Raphael Sako, in his Christmas message to Iraqi Christians and shared with AsiaNews. "Every human being - continues the cardinal - finds in Jesus a perfect example of humanity to follow and conforms to the image of God".
In a nation recently devastated by wars, violence, still present jihadist threats, political instability and a slow path of democratization, the value of "unity" between citizens of different ethnic groups and religions is the foundation on which to build the future. A mission to which Christians are also called "through the witness of our faith, prayers, love of neighbor" and with "the contribution of each one to the rebirth of our country".
The Iraqi cardinal will celebrate the Christmas Eve Mass together with the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin. For the first time in history, the closest collaborator of a pontiff will go on an official visit to Iraq, from December 24 to 28; he will visit the capital Baghdad, Erbil and some Christian towns on the Nineveh plain.
AsiaNews's Catholic sources in Iraq stress that Parolin's trip could represent the premise for a visit, in the near future, of a Pope in the Arab country.
Returning to the Chaldean patriarch's Christmas message, he emphasizes that in the birth and witness of the living Christ the suffering, death and resurrection are "completed". "Despite the many malice that dwell in man - he adds - the Christian has sufficient graces to complete the project of interior renewal".
Through the Sacraments, such as baptism and the Eucharist, "we receive the grace of unity in Jesus Christ and come embraced by him". A call, emphasizes the cardinal, who calls for "a daily commitment, courage and hard work" and which is addressed "to all men of good will, who open themselves sincerely to the grace of God", from a common point of view of "brotherhood, love and peace" that concerns all mankind, without distinction.
Addressing the faithful, the Chaldean primate recalls the "centrality" of faith in the life of every man and the importance of prayer and participation in the life of the community. Being Christian, he adds, requires a daily "witness of faith, prayer and service" to others. "Faith -- he warns - prepares the ground for a life lived according to the Word of God and helps us to be children of God, more than servants of the devil".
"I hope that Christmas - concludes the cardinal - is an opportunity to strengthen faith and witness to the service of love and peace" as desired by Pope Francis. "And those who are the source of division, create chaos and confusion exasperating the precepts of religion, ethnicity or gender do not believe in God and have no title to call themselves men of faith".