We offer gifts to Baby Jesus through the peers we help, Patriarch Daniel says at Christmas Divine Liturgy

‘Just like the Magi offered gifts to the Baby Jesus, we all those who bear Christ’s name are called to offer Him gifts through the peers we help,’ His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel said during the Divine Liturgy held on Christmas day at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest.

The feast of spiritual and material gifts

Addressing the congregation on Wednesday, Patriarch Daniel stressed that the Nativity of the Lord is ‘the feast of spiritual and material gifts,’ recalling the blessed gesture of the Magi who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Saviour.

‘These gifts brought by the three wise men to the Baby Jesus have awakened in the consciousness of the Church our duty to offer gifts to God,’ Patriarch Daniel said listing the permanent spiritual gifts that are well-pleasing to God.

“The gold of true faith and of good deeds, the frankincense of incessant prayer – the more we pray to God, the more our soul rises to Heavens – and the myrrh which signifies the Christian life lived in saintliness by crucifying selfish passions, by replacing evil thoughts, words and deeds with pure thoughts, beautiful words and deeds of merciful love. So, myrrh means the killing of sin, resurrection, and increasing virtues in our lives.”

His Beatitude noted that we offer these gifts by directing our love towards our peers.

‘We don’t need to bring gold,’ Patriarch Daniel said, ‘but to show our faith to be as pure as gold and to manifest good deeds to other people and God.’

“Let us continue our whole life in prayer as a fragrant frankincense and bring to God the humble love of the mercy we show around us. Therefore, the myrrh of good deeds is seen these days by helping the elderly, the poor, by visiting the sick, etc.”

‘These are the permanent spiritual gifts that we offer to the Baby Jesus and to our peers,’ His Beatitude underscored December 25.

The Romanian Patriarch urged everyone ‘to transform the energy that comes from passions into  the beneficial energy of virtues, namely to renounce the selfish behaviour in order to foster the humble and merciful love.’

He who seeks Jesus receives unutterable joy

During his Christmas homily, Patriarch Daniel highlighted that the Church honours the three Magi who came from great distances to bow down before the Baby Jesus.

About the long journey of the three Wise Men, the Patriarch said that “it is a wonderful fact, an unexpected work”, because it highlights “the contrast between those close, who do not honour Jesus and those who are coming from far distances and bring expensive gifts to the Saviour.”

‘The Magi went to worship the Baby. After they left Herod, the star re-appeared because as they visited the king, the star disappeared. The Gospel tells us that when they saw that the star reappeared, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.’

“Here we see the link between their search and the reward of their search. He who seeks Jesus to worship Him receives in his soul an unutterable joy, an exceeding great joy that was transmitted at the same time with the reappearing of the guiding star to Bethlehem,” the patriarch said.

Patriarch Daniel concluded his speech by conveying name day wishes to all those who bear the name of Christian and Christina. ‘We wish them many years with good health, joy and much help from God. May they have the joy of the angels who sung Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men, as well as the joy of the Magi and the saints.’

Concelebrants for the Divine Liturgy included Bishop Qais of Erzurum (Antioch Patriarchate) and the patriarchal auxiliary bishop Varlaam of Ploiesti.

Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu

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