Even at Christmas, "the earth was again stained with blood", especially in the Philippines, Nigeria and Pakistan said the pope today at the end of the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in the square St. Peter's.
"In this Christmas season - said the pontiff - the desire and the invocation of the gift of peace becomes even more intense. But our world continues to be marked by violence, especially against the disciples of Christ. I learned with great sadness of the attack in a Catholic church in the Philippines, while the Christmas Day rites were being celebrated, as well as the attack on Christian churches in Nigeria ".
Yesterday morning during Christmas Mass for the police in Jolo (Mindanao), a bomb exploded near the altar wounding the priest and five other people.
In Jos (Nigeria), long plagued by social and religious tensions, seven bombs exploded in the center of the city, leaving 32 dead and 74 wounded.
A bomb that was set to explode during midnight mass was defused by police.
"The earth - continued Benedict XVI – was again stained with blood in other parts of the world, such as in Pakistan. I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the victims of this senseless violence, and I repeat once again the call to abandon the path of hatred to find peaceful solutions to conflicts and gift security and serenity to these dear people. "
Then referring to today’s feast recalling the Holy Family, "who lived through the dramatic experience of having to flee to Egypt from the murderous rampage of Herod, let us remember - he added – all those people - especially families - who are forced to flee their homes because of war, violence and intolerance. I invite you therefore to join me in prayer asking the Lord to forcefully move the hearts of men and bring hope, reconciliation and peace. "
In fact the Pope dedicated the first part of his Angelus reflection to the Holy Family. Benedict XVI explained, "the baby Jesus is the center of his parents’ affection and solicitude. In the poor grotto in Bethlehem - write the Fathers of the Church - a bright light shines, reflecting the deep mystery that surrounds this Child, which Mary and Joseph keep in their hearts and reveal in their eyes, gestures and especially in their silences "
"And yet - continued the Pope - the birth of every child brings something of this mystery! Parents, who receive their child as a gift, know this well and often speak in such terms. We have all happened to hear a father or a mother say: "This child is a gift, a miracle." In fact, human beings do not experience procreation as a mere reproductive act, but perceive its richness, sense that every human creature born into this world is the "sign" par excellence of the Creator and Father in heaven. How important it is, then, that every child coming into this world is welcomed by the warmth of a family! No matter the outward comforts: Jesus is born in a stable, with a manger as his first cradle, but the love of Mary and Joseph made him feel the tenderness and beauty of being loved. Children need this: the love of father and mother. That 's what gives them security and in growth, allows them to discover the meaning of life. "
"The Holy Family of Nazareth experienced many trials, for example – as mentioned in the Gospel according to Matthew - the" Massacre of the Innocents ", which forced Mary and Joseph to emigrate to Egypt (cf. 2.13 to 23). But, trusting in divine Providence, they found their stability and provided a serene childhood and a solid education for Jesus. "
"Dear friends - he concluded - the Holy Family is certainly unique and unrepeatable, but at the same time it is the “model” for every family, because Jesus, true man, chose to be born to in a human family, and in so doing has blessed and consecrated it. Therefore, we entrust to the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph all families, so they are not discouraged by trials and difficulties, but always cultivate conjugal love and confidently devote themselves to the service of life and education. "