on the Feast of the Holy Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord Jesus Christ
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that by testing you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Today on the Feast the Nativity of our Lord, we offer with joy our thanksgiving to God. We glorify infant Jesus born in Bethlehem, who came into the world to save humanity, condemned to perdition.
Adam, the first man in the world created by God, violated the divine commandment, went against the will of God, and was thus deprived of the grace and gifts of the Creator. Through Adam, sin came into existence in human life and death entered the world. However, God, with the love and mercy of his Creatorship established a new reality for humanity. In the fullness of time, He sent His Only Begotten Son to redeem humanity from its sins and to grant eternal life. Through Christ, the world roiling in a tempest of sin was renewed, and humanity was graced with the chance to become new again by heeding the message of establishing peace, love and goodwill in the world. In the light of the salvific reality of our Lord, the apostle Paul exhorts, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
These words of the apostle expressed the spirit of the Gospel. The Gospel message became manifest in the world through path of renewal in Christ, transforming human lives and societies, and instilling the ideas of the common good and of establishing justice and peace in the world. Sadly, however, in opposition to God the sinful ways of evil persist. Wars, conflicts, and terrorism are unceasing; human rights are being violated, and genocides and cultural destruction have yet to receive their just condemnation. Greed and the craving to for riches lead to fraud and abuse causing human tragedies, polarization of society and social injustice. Alongside kindness and honesty we witness hatred and treachery, and beside humility and dedication, we witness blind ambition and obsession for power. Over all these wounds the mystery of the incarnation of Christ extends the hope of renewal, so that, following the words of the apostle Paul, people may test themselves and discern “what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect,” and live their lives through works pleasing to God.
This is the path that embodies God’s will, sustaining the world and adorning life with love, peace, justice, and truth, which God unceasingly increases in the souls of the faithful. It is the testimony of renewal through Christ that we Christians must bring to the world. The life of a Christian is an impactful mission to the people and the world. Christ’s redemptive work in the world is the model for envisioning one’s own mission in the establishment of national and universal good and working together to create the paths of happiness, progress, and achievements. Thus, instead of being an end in itself life is transformed into commitment, work becomes creation, knowledge and talent become the common good, authority becomes service to the people, and our transient earthly existence becomes the yearning and aspiration for eternity.
The message of renewal in the gospel and the apostolic exhortation, have perpetually resonated and sustained our people. Life renewed by the Gospel for centuries has granted our people the fortitude of faith, strength of soul, and courage to be able to withstand tribulations, to endure hardships, and to create accomplishments worthy of written remembrance. With this same spirit, we confront the illegal blockade of our homeland and military provocations that cost lives. We overcome the difficulties and challenges we face, and strive to build a peaceful and prosperous life for our people, at the same time lending support to our sisters and brothers who endure the devastation of war in the Middle East. In the face of crisis and adversity, the feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Christ brings a new dawn of life, warming our hearts and giving us hope and optimism.
Today, in front of the mystery of the Nativity and Theophany of our Savior, We bring you, dear people of faith, the same apostolic exhortation to follow the will of God, to perform righteous deeds, to aspire to perfection, and to be filled with the determination and zeal to live a better life. Let us keep our hearts as a humble manger of Bethlehem for the divine presence, so that we may become true worshippers of the Savior: merciful and just, with love for another. Let us be strengthened by the Lord, so that our hopes become a reality and our national goals are accomplished. May we, like the light radiating from the star of Bethlehem leading to the Lord, keep the faith in our souls bright, and like the wise men make fidelity and devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ our life’s path and destination.
With the glorious good news of the Holy Nativity of Christ, we convey our fraternal greetings to the incumbents of the hierarchical sees of our Apostolic Church: His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia; the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem Archbishop Nurhan Manoogian; the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople Archbishop Mesrop Mutafian; and to all the clergy of our Church. We extend our warm wishes and we pray for the salvific grace of Christ the Child for the heads of our sister churches and their faithful flocks.
We convey our greetings to the President of Armenia, Serj Sarkissian, President Bako Sahakyan of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh and pray that the Lord grant them fortitude in their duties. We deliver our blessings and best wishes to state officials of Armenia, present today at this Divine Liturgy, and the representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Armenia. We bestow our pontifical blessing upon our entire nation and diaspora.
On this joyous day of the Holy Nativity we raise our prayer to the incarnate Son of God for peace in the world and for the progress and prosperity of our people in the homeland and the Diaspora. We beseech gracious God that He may root out the tare of brutality and hatred from the hearts of all people and sow the graces of love and solidarity, so that humanity can be renewed by doing God’s will: “the good, acceptable and perfect.”
May the Lord keep and protect our country, sustain in prosperity our Holy Church under the venerable shadow of His Holy Right Hand. May He also guide our life in faith and in paths of good deeds, so that we may glorify His Holy name, now and forever and ever. Amen.