Homily of Nuncio Eterovic in the Holy Mass for the Filipina community

St. Johannesbasilika zu Berlin, 20. Dezember 2019

(Is 7,10-114; Sal 23; Lk 1,26-38)

Holy Mass for the Filipina community

Berlin, 20 December 2019

“Let it happen to me as you have said” (Lk 1:38)

Dear sisters and Brothers,

We have gathered at the Basilica of St. John in Berlin, during the season of advent, to prepare ourselves spiritually for the celebration of the solemnity of Christmas. In this preparation, the words of Sacred Scripture have a particular importance, especially the passages of the Old and New Testament which speak of the coming of the Messiah, or which present His message and His work. Today, in particular way, we have listened the announcement of the angel Gabriel to Mary: “Behold, you will conceive a child, you will give birth to him and you will call him Jesus” (Lk 1:31). The response of Mary, with which she accepts the will of God, is well known to us: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord," let it happen to me as you have said" (Lk 1:38). It concerns not only of Mary, but all of us. The Blessed Virgin Mary had the privilege of becoming the mother of Jesus. She was the first tabernacle in which Jesus remained nine months. Obviously, in this sense Mary remains the unique. However, exists another motherhood, the spiritual one, in which we can and should all of us imitate Mary. Following her example, we are also exhorted to allow the Holy Spirit so that Jesus be born in our heart and that transforms in the full christian sense, all our life. The presence of Jesus in us fill us with joy and it drives us to transmit such blissful News, which is the Gospel itself, to others, starting with the members of our own families.

Dear faithful, I am so pleased to greet all of you in the name of the Holy Father, Pope Francis whom I represent in the Federal Republic of Germany. I would like to convey to you his most cordial greetings and exhort you, his words, to prepare yourselves well for Christmas. On Sunday, December 15, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass for the filipino community in Rome. On that occasion he recalled the beautiful tradition that is a motive of proud for catholic people in the Philippines. In this regard, the Bishop of Rome said: “In the Philippines, for centuries, there has been a novena in preparation for the Holy Christmas called Simbang-Gabi (Mass at the dawn). During nine days the filipino faithful gather at their parishes at dawn for a special Eucharistic celebration. In the last few decades, thanks to filipino migrants, this devotion has crossed national borders and has arrived in many other countries. Simbang-Gabi has also been celebrated in the diocese of Rome for years”. Last Sunday, as mentioned, this feast was celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica, and today in this biggest catholic church in Berlin.

The purpose of this celebration has been well indicated by the Holy Father: “Through this celebration we want to prepare ourselves for Christmas according to the sprit of the Word of God which we have listened, remaining constant until the final coming of the Lord. We want to commit ourselves to manifest the love and the tenderness of God towards all, especially towards the least. We are called to be “leaven” in a society that often fails to taste the goodness of God and to experience the grace of his presence.

The words that Pope Francis has addressed to your compatriots of Rome and of Italy fit very well also for you, dear faithful: “And you, dear brothers and sisters, who have left your homeland in search of a better future, you have a special mission. Your faith be “leaven” in the parish communities to which you belong today. I encourage you to multiply the opportunities of meeting to share your cultural and spiritual richness, allowing yourself at the same time being enriched by the experiences of others. We are all urged to build together that communion in diversity that constitutes a distinctive trait of the Kingdom of God, inaugurated by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became man. We are all called to participate together the charity towards the inhabitants of the existential peripheries, putting our various abilities at the service, so as to renew the signs of the presence of the Kingdom. We are all called to proclaim together the Gospel, the Good News of salvation, in all languages, so as to reach as many people as possible”.

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Like Mary, we also want to do God’s will with the grace of the Holy Spirit. Our gathering around the Lord’s supper (Mass) means that we have chosen Jesus, as our Lord and that we are preparing ourselves to welcome Him on the solemnity of Christmas. Being a Christian also involves obligations. The Holy Father often repeats that every Christian must be a faithful disciple and zealous missionary of Jesus Christ and of His Gospel. Let us entrust our reflections to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus and our mother, so that she beseeches to God for us that the gift of being good Christians in our personal, familiar and social life and of transmitting the joy of Christianity to all people that we encounter in the journey of our life.

Through his Representative in Germany, the Holy Father, Pope Francis imparts his blessings to all those who are present at this church, the members of your families, as well as all the people who are dear to you. United in faith, in love and in charity with the Bishop of Rome and the Pastor of the universal Church, let us welcome the blessing of the Lord: “The Holy Child (Infant Jesus) that we are getting ready to worship, wrapped in poor swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, bless you and give you the strength to carry out your witness with joyfulness”. Amen.