“It’s always life’s question: How do we find hope?” Dolan said on “CBS This Morning” Friday. “People might lose faith but boy, if you lose hope, you don’t get out of bed in the morning, all right? So hope is really important.”
Dolan said Christmas and Hanukkah are a time of celebrating “the triumph of light over darkness,” and coincide with a “natural sign.”
“The darkest day of the year was two days ago. For ancient men and women, they would always say, ‘Is it going to keep getting darker... Is the light going to come up?’ And of course it does around this time of year,” Dolan said. “Life trumps death – no pun intended – good trumps evil, good is victorious over bad, life conquers death. That is hope. Nature gives you hope, super nature, the supernatural gives us more hope.”
As with the meaning behind the ancient Roman title for the pope, “Pontifex” – a bridge builder between God and humanity – Dolan explained the church’s role is to bring people together.
“That’s God’s purpose – to constantly bring us close to him. And he does that, we Christians believe, through Jesus,” Dolan said. “Now his church is supposed to do the same thing.”
Dolan also reflected on October’s Al Smith Dinner, a charity event attended by then presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, as an example of the church trying to bridge divides.
“I didn’t know if I was a bridge or a wall between the two of them,” Dolan said, laughing.
For those who are concerned about keeping the peace at gatherings this year, Dolan reminded that the holidays is the “one season during the year we’re thinking about the noble site of human virtue.”
“This is the time of year where those noble, enlightening, uplifting sentiments that sometimes are buried deep down come to the surface,” Dolan said. “And I think that’s what makes tables, Christmas trees, family parties so uplifting.”
This year, Cardinal Dolan will offer his Christmas message Saturday night when he celebrates his eighth midnight mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Pope Francis has been vocal in his support of immigrants and refugees, and Dolan had two refugee families at last year’s midnight mass. He said he expects more to join this year.
“God’s using a sledgehammer here to tell us to deliver a message: ‘Take these babies in, take these families in, take these refugees in. I am one with you, especially for those people who are in trouble.’ And today, what do we got? We got the immigrants and the refugees,” Dolan said.