Sermon of Bishop Peter Bürcher, Christmas 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I wish all of you and your families Happy Christmas!

Unto us a child is born by Virgin Mary: He is called Jesus. He is our Saviour, He is the Son of God.

A few days ago our Pope Francis said some enlightening words. I will not keep them to myself but want to give them to you as a Christmas present: Mary "is the fruit of the divine love that saves the world.

And the Mother of God has never distanced herself from that love: Her whole life, her whole being is an affirmation of God´s will. That was surely not easy for her! When the Angel addressed her as "Hail full of grace" (Lk 1, 28) she became "greatly troubled", for in her humility she felt herself as something small and insignificant in the eyes of God. The Angel encouraged her: "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. You ... will bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus" (Lk 1, 30). This annuciation made her still more troubled, since she was not even married to Joseph; but the Angel then added: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you ... Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God" (Lk 1, 35). Mary listened to this, consented within herself and then answered: I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1, 38).

The mystery of this young woman from Nazareth, who had God in her heart, is in no way strange to us. It isn't as if it only concerns her. No: we are linked to each other. Indeed God lookes lovingly at every man and every woman! His loving look is directed towards all of us. The Apostle Paul writes: "[God] chose us ... before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish" (Eph 1, 4). Therefore we are also chosen by God to live a holy life, free of sin. This plan of his love God renews every time we approach him, especially in the Sacraments", in the words of our Pope Francis.

On this feastday of Christmas we all, together with Mary and especially with the poor and the oppressed, look to Jesus. This little baby in the manger is our heavenly Saviour. Let us look to him, especially in the dark hours of our life. Let us look to him especially when we are being accused. We are blessed because Jesus also looks towards us us and gives us all his limitless love in abundance. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (John 3, 16). Come, let us adore him together with Mary and Joseph!

Happy Christmas! Amen