Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
“See, I make all things new”. That is the message the figure of Christ gives in the Book of Revelations. We need Christmas each year. We can get worn down when at times the tragedies in life seem more apparent than the blessings, or when the good we do as individuals and as Church seems to get outclassed by the scandals. We need this event of Christmas, the reminder that God so loved us that He sent His only Son amongst us. Beyond the powers of our minds and imagination, the Word
was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. Christmas is the annual reminder of God’s endorsement of us, and thus endorsed we will always be a people of hope.
The mass murder at Sandy Hook in Connecticut, with the unthinkable tragedy of five year old children being gunned down and the extraordinary phenomenon of people defending the free purchase of high-powered, lethal weapons, and the stream of accusations about people in our Church failing to confront adequately perpetrators of abuse, and the apparent disengagement of so many of our young people from the Church, all this might tend to make us think that we are a people sitting in darkness.
The star of Bethlehem is the light we need, the source for our hope and renewal. We must always look for the flowers in the garden of life, not the weeds. At Sandy Hook, the focus of the media has been on the death of the children and the grief of their
parents. We need also to note the heroism of the teachers who seemed not to have given a thought for themselves but unstintingly sacrificed their lives to protect those babes. What greatness of spirit! There is the welcome the Church has given the news of the Royal Commission, to enable the truth to be known. There are the young ones stepping forward to serve Christ in the person of the poor, and there they will find Him.
There is a magic in Christmas, and one can see it in the eyes of children. All the presents we give and receive at Christmas should be reminders of Emmanuel, that “God-is-with-us”, and because of that we rejoice and give gifts. All humanity came to the stable in Bethlehem, the noble and the broken, and even the dumb beasts. God so loves His creation that He came amongst us, and actually dwelt with us. Happy Christmas.
Yours in Christ
+ Gregory O’Kelly SJ
Bishop of the Diocese of Port Pirie