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Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Ireland: Christmas message from Bishop of Cloyne
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¬†I have noticed recently that an increasing number of people are expressing negative views in regard to Christmas. Some, in fact, are taking off on a journey to where Christmas will not be celebrated, are really opting out of Christmas, while others are disillusioned with the hustle and bustle of a festive season which has become no more the annual rush to spend, to eat, drink and be merry. At the same time, we still have on our streets those who are constrained to live rough. Huddled under cardboard and makeshift clothing these people, many of them young, have lost their home, they have no hearth to make them warm, no family to make them welcome. We live, indeed, in a world of contradictions, in a world fraught with frailty, hurt and broken trust, in a world whose daily news menu is violence, war and death. Indeed, we live in a world which, more than ever before, has need to celebrate the real Christmas. In contrast with all the tinsel and lighting, the partying and frivolity, the pain and suffering, " there is a Child born for us, a Son given to us" (Is. 9:6), a Child who speaks to the inner heart of each one of us; a Child who is innocent and pure and, at the same time, empowering: "and dominion is laid on His shoulders" (Is.9: 6). Can we, this Christmas, allow this Child to reach out to each one, no matter in what condition we find ourselves, to touch us in a way we've never been touched before? Can we, despite out hectic daily schedule, find that moment to listen to Him as He tells us, each one, " My Father has sent me to you to tell you how much He really loves you ≠ just as you are"? Can we stand, for an instant, before the Crib and, through the eyes of the Virgin Mother, contemplate the immensity of the mystery of love that is being unfolded before us? Can we see reflected in the eyes of the children at the Crib, who can so easily identify with the Baby Jesus, the beauty, love and peace of the real Christmas that speaks to the inner needs of the human heart today? My prayer is that this Christmas of 2003 may make a difference in our lives, in our families and communities, in our Nation and in the World. May we not be carried away or put off by the Christmas of illusions but rather may we feel the healing hand of the Christ-Child in our lives and take Him at His word when he tells us that He has come to make all things new. (cf. Mt. 19:28). A Happy and Grace-Filled Christmas to all. + John Magee. Bishop of Cloyne.
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