It-Twelid tat-Tabib tar-ruħ

Il-Ħamis, 24 ta’ Diċembru 2020: Il-Messaġġ tal-Milied mill-Arċisqof Charles Jude Scicluna. – Il-messaġġ bl-Ingliż jinsab taħt dan bil-Malti.

Fil-lejl qaddis tal-Milied huwa ta’ pjaċir kbir għalija li nsellem lil kull wieħed u waħda minnkom, għeżież Maltin u Għawdxin. Insellmilkom bit-tislima tal-anġlu f’dan il-lejl qaddis: Glorja lil Alla fil-ogħla tas-smewwiet, paċi fl-art lil bnedmin ta’ rieda tajba, lill-bnedmin li Alla tassew iħobb. Illum fil-belt ta’ David tweldilna Salvatur li hu Kristu l-Mulej (ara Lq 2:11-14). Imma dan il-kliem f’din is-sena daqshekk ikkumplikata, immarkata bil-pandemija tal-COVID-19, xi jfisser?

Din is-sena, f’dan il-Milied, ejjew nistiednu lill-Mulej Ġesù jiġi magħna u jiġi fostna ta’ li hu: Alla mħabba magħmul bniedem. L-isem tiegħu, Ġesù, ifisser ‘Alla Salvatur’, imma isem ieħor li jagħtih il-Profeta Iżaija huwa ‘Għimmanu-El, Alla magħna’.

Alla fejn qiegħed f’dan kollu?

Min jaf kemm-il darba f’dawn l-aħħar xhur li għaddew minn fuqna staqsejna lilna nfusna: imma Alla fejn qiegħed f’dan kollu? Illum inħarsu lejn it-tarbija fil-maxtura ta’ Betlehem u r-risposta hija l-bikja kiebja ta’ tarbija li tgħidilna: “Jiena qiegħed hawn miegħek, għalik, jiena Alla magħmul bniedem, jiena Alla miegħek, Għimmanu-El”.

Din is-sena rajna xhieda sabiħa ta’ mħabba li offrewlna tant frontliners li taw risposta sabiħa u ġeneruża — insejħulha wkoll erojka — għall-pandemija li laqtitna bla avviż, burraxka li m’aħniex se ninsewha malajr. Nixtieq insellmilhom u nagħtihom mhux biss il-barka f’isem il-Mulej u f’isimna, imma wkoll infisser f’isem kull wieħed u waħda minna l-gratitudni tagħna.

Darba minnhom Ġesù uża din it-tixbiha tiegħu nnifsu bħala t-tabib: huma l-morda li jixtiquh it-tabib (ara Mt 9:12). Aħna f’dawn ix-xhur, b’sens ta’ gratitudni imma wkoll b’sens ta’ ammirazzjoni, ersaqna u ħarisna lejn it-tobba, l-infermiera, l-awtoritajiet tas-saħħa, lejn tant staff mediku u oħrajn fir-residenzi tal-anzjani tagħna u f’ambjenti oħrajn li kienu taħt prova kbira.

Il-Milied irid iġib ukoll mhux biss fejqan fiżiku li nawgurawh lil kulħadd, imma fejqan spiritwali. U l-Mulej biex ifejjaqna ma jibgħat l-ebda tabib tal-ġisem imma jibgħat tarbija. It-tobba tal-ġisem qegħdin magħna, il-Mulej ikompli jagħnihom bil-għerf u bis-saħħa. Imma din it-tarbija ta’ Betlehem, il-Mulej Ġesù meta jikber, jgħidilna li kulma għamilna mal-iżgħar fost dawn ħutna, għamilnieh miegħu (ara Mt 25:40). Hu tant uman li huwa wkoll wieħed minna.

Is-sena li ġejja

Fis-sena li ġejja, li lkoll qed inħarsu lejha b’tama kbira, hemm bżonn li nkunu xhieda
— bħalma għamilna f’dawn l-aħħar xhur — tal-għożża li għandna għal xulxin. Hemm bżonn nikkoperaw mal-awtoritajiet tas-saħħa għax din hija espressjoni tal-imħabba konkreta. Kull min jista’ jieħu l-vaċċin għandu jieħdu għaliex b’hekk nipproteġu mhux biss lilna nfusna imma anke lil dawk ħutna li minħabba ċirkustanzi differenti ma jistgħux jieħdu l-vaċċin.

Kemm huwa importanti li aħna nifhmu dak kollu li tgħallimna f’dawn l-aħħar xhur; kemm hemm affarijiet għeżież li forsi ċċaħħadna minnhom u sibna t-tifsira vera tagħha bħalma hi t-tgħanniqa bejn il-maħbubin u bejn il-ħbieb — li d-distanza soċjali ċaħħditna minnha — imma wkoll il-possibbiltà li nżuru lill-għeżież tagħna, b’mod speċjali l-anzjani tagħna.

Irrid insellem ukoll lil dawk il-familji li minħabba l-pandemija tilfu lil xi ħadd għażiż u kellhom jgħaddu mill-esperjenza kiefra li ma jistgħux ikunu qrib l-għeżież tagħhom fl-aħħar mumenti tal-ħajja. Tgħiduli dan se ssemmih ukoll f’lejlet il-Milied? Tajjeb li niftakru li l-Milied ma kienx biss ta’ ferħ għar-ragħajja, għall-maġi, u għal Marija u Ġużeppi, imma wkoll kien ta’ sfida. Il-maġi kellhom jagħmlu vjaġġ twil; ir-ragħajja jisimgħu leħen l-anġlu jistieden lilhom, l-imwarrbin tas-soċjetà li sabu s-Salvatur tagħhom; Ġużeppi u Marija kellhom jagħmlu vjaġġ kbir lejn Betlehem, l-art u l-belt ta’ David, biex jobdu ċ-ċensiment li ordna l-imperatur. Meta waslu fil-belt ta’ Betlehem ma sabux post fil-lukanda. Ġużeppi jpoġġi lill-għażiża Marija fi stalla f’għar tal-annimali. Hemmhekk jitwieled is-Salvatur tagħna.

Meta aħna nħarsu lejn il-presepju f’dawn il-ġranet, ejjew nifhmu li anke għal Marija u Ġużeppi, bħalma jgħid il-Papa Franġisku, il-ħajja ma kinitx biss ward u żahar imma kienet ukoll sfida bħalma hi għal ħafna minna.

Tama għall-poplu tagħna

Il-kelma tiegħi hija kelma ta’ tama għall-poplu tagħna, kelma u tħeġġiġa biex aħna nkomplu naħdmu flimkien għall-ġid ta’ kulħadd. Il-ħsieb tiegħi wkoll imur lejn tant nies li jistgħu biss isegwu l-quddiesa ta’ kuljum permezz tat-trażmissjonijiet li għamilna matul din is-sena. Nirringrazzja lil tant nies li ssapportjaw lilna l-Isqfijiet, li tawna kelma ta’ kuraġġ, u li forsi ltaqgħu magħna għal-ewwel darba bħala isqfijiet inxandru l-Kelma ta’ Alla u nħabbru l-Aħbar it-Tajba tas-Salvatur li twieled għalina.

Il-ħsieb tiegħi wkoll imur lejn ħutna l-emigranti li mhumiex f’Malta u Għawdex imma jsegwuna, iħobbuna u aħna mhux biss insellmulhom imma nawgurawlhom bħalma nawguraw lil xulxin. Nawgura lill-poplu Malti u Għawdxi, Milied hieni u sena ġdida mimlija risq, barka u saħħa.
Il-paċi magħkom.

✠ Charles Jude Scicluna
Arċisqof ta’ Malta

 

The Birth of the Divine Physician.

Christmas Message by Archbishop Charles Jude Scicluna.

Dear Maltese and Gozitans,

It is with great pleasure that I greet each and every one of you dear Maltese and Gozitans on the holy night of Christmas. I greet you with the greeting of the angel on this holy night: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased. For to you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord (cf. Lk 2:11-14). We may question what these words mean in view of this past year which has proven to be so complex, marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, during this Christmas, let us invite Jesus to be with us and among us as He is, God’s love who became man. This is what Jesus’ name means, ‘God the Saviour’. But another name given to Jesus by the Prophet Isaiah is Emmanuel, ‘God with us’.

Where is God in all this?

Who knows how many times during the past few months we asked ourselves: where is God in all this? Today we gaze at the baby in the manger of Bethlehem and his reply through a sad cry tells us: “I am here with you and for you. I am God made man. I am God with you, Emmanuel”.

This year we experienced the great witness of love by so many frontliners who gave a beautiful, generous and heroic response to the pandemic that struck us without warning, a rough setback that will not easily be forgotten. I would like to greet them and impart on them the Lord’s blessing, and, on behalf of every one of us, show them our appreciation.

On one occasion, Jesus used the image of himself as a physician; it is the sick who require and ask for the doctor (cf. Mt 9:12). During these months we drew nearer to doctors and nurses, the health authorities, medical staff and others in elderly residential homes and other realities that were all faced with difficult trials. We express our gratitude gratitude and admiration towards them.

Besides bringing physical healing that we wish everyone, Christmas should also bring spiritual healing. To heal us the Lord does not send a physician but a baby. Physicians are essential, and the Lord continues to endow them with wisdom and health. But when this baby from Bethlehem grows to become the Lord Jesus, he tells us that whatever we do to the least of our brothers, we do it to him (cf Mt 25:40). He is so close to us that he is also one of us.

This coming year

This coming year — a year that we are all anticipating with great hope — we are called to be witnesses, as we have been doing throughout these past months, and to cherish each other. We need to co-operate with the health authorities as this is a concrete expression of love. Whoever can take the vaccine should do so, as in this way we will be protecting not only ourselves but also our brethren who due to various circumstances may not be able to take the vaccine.

It is so important to learn from the experience of the past few months; by denying ourselves of so many things we cherish, we have understood their true value, such as a hug between loved ones and between friends that social distancing has deprived us of, but also the possibility of visiting our loved ones, especially the elderly.

I wish to also greet those families who lost a loved one as a result of the pandemic and who had to go through the harsh experience of not being able to be close to their loved ones at the last moments of their life. One may say ‘are you also going to mention this on Christmas Eve?’ It is important to remember that Christmas was not only a moment of joy for the shepherds, the magi, Mary and Joseph, but it was also a challenging moment. The magi had to make a long journey; the shepherds heard the voice of the angel inviting them, the marginalised in society, to proclaim that they had found their Saviour; Joseph and Mary had to make a long journey to Bethlehem, the land and city of David, to obey the census ordered by the emperor. When they arrived in the city of Bethlehem, they did not find any place in the inn. Joseph places his dear Mary in a stable, in a cave for animals and there our Saviour is born.

Throughout these days, as we gaze at the crib, we need to understand that even for Mary and Joseph, as Pope Francis tells us, life was not always rosy but it also offered its challenges as it does to many of us.

Hope for our people

These are words of hope for our people, words of encouragement that we may continue to work together for the common good. My thoughts also go to so many people who can only follow mass through the daily transmissions that we had throughout this year. I thank so many people who supported us Bishops, who gave us a word of encouragement and who possibly met us for the first time as bishops, spreading the word of God and proclaiming the Good News of the Saviour who was born for us.

My thoughts also go to Maltese emigrants who are not in Malta and Gozo and yet follow us and love us. We not only greet them but wish them, as we wish each other and the Maltese people, a blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year filled with peace and health.

Peace be with you!

✠ Charles Jude Scicluna
Archbishop of Malta

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