BY ARCHBISHOP SOC VILLEGAS
Mary and Elizabeth were cousins. Jesus and John were cousins too as the Gospels teach us. Both pregnancies were miraculous. The first pregnancy happened in virginity; the second pregnancy happened in old age beyond the childbearing years. The intervention of God is clear in both pregnancies. There is clearly something heavenly and divine in both cousins and in both pregnancies.
They were cousins by blood and family descent. They were also cousins by the divine story of their wombs.
Who are our cousins? We have cousins by family descent. We also have spiritual cousins by our divine roots. There are people who do not believe in Christ but they believe in the divine. We are cousins. There are people who do not believe in the Catholic Church but they believe in the power of love. We are cousins. There are people who carry Christ and that is us but there are also people of other religions who also carry the divine in their hearts. We are cousins.
How can we recognize our kinship with one another? When we are open and sincere enough to encounter one another; when we meet, something in our hearts will leap. Something within us will whisper a quiet message that we are cousins who carry something divine in our souls. We are all cousins by God. Before our differences in race and religion, in economics and politics, in age and sexuality, in physique or talents—we are humans who came from the divine and who carry the divine inside each of us.
We need one another to understand God. It is not enough to celebrate the love we have been given. It is necessary to see that that love has been given to others too—Christians and Moslems, Protestants and Catholics, atheists and agnostics of good will. Without the other, without recognizing the “cousins” in one another, we will not be able to happily sing our Christmas carols.
We are cousins from the same loving God. We are cousins who all carry God within us albeit unaware. Christmas is not an exclusive Catholic treasure. We have cousins who share the treasure.