Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Message - Bishop Leo O' Reilly


The year has brought many changes.

Our economy has gone from boom to recession in the space of a few months.

Many people have lost their jobs.

Some have seen their pensions halved.

Others have seen their businesses suffer or even go under.

We have seen health cuts, education cuts and we are warned of more in the coming year.

The talk is no longer about the Celtic Tiger, but about cutbacks and hard times ahead.

It is a worrying time for everyone.

It would be easy at a time like this to turn in on ourselves, forget about everybody else and say: I have to look after No. 1. So we might batten down the hatches, cut out giving to charities or those in need, and think only of ourselves. There is a danger that we could not only do this in our own personal lives, but that we might do it as a nation.

So eliminating poverty would no longer be a national priority, development aid to poorer countries would be cut, tackling climate change would be postponed.

The birth of Christ suggests a different way of responding to our present situation. In the midst of all the doom and gloom, Christmas is a beacon of hope.

In this year when we commemorate the 2000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul it is good to reflect on the apostle's words: "Remember how generous the Lord Jesus was: he was rich, but he became poor for your sake, to make you rich out of his poverty."

A very important part of Christmas is thinking about others who are not as well off as ourselves. We give gifts to each other at Christmas as a reminder of the great gift that God gave us when Jesus was born. Our giving will be more like God's giving if we also remember to give to those who poor and needy.

I saw a Christmas poster recently with the words: Don't forget the reason for the season.

Everything we do in Advent and at Christmas - the Advent wreaths, Christmas carols, cribs, cards and decorations, our Masses and other celebrations - everything is designed to remind us of the heart of what Christmas is about: recalling and celebrating the incredible mystery of God becoming human in the person of Jesus.

It is the ultimate expression of the boundless love of God for the world and for each one of us.

I send Christmas greetings to those who are sick, to those in hospitals and nursing homes.

I greet all in the caring professions who have to work over the holiday period while we celebrate.

Can I ask all of you who are using the roads this Christmas to drive carefully, don't drink if you are driving, and if you are walking or cycling, make sure you can be seen.

I wish all of you, those here at home and those living abroad, the joy and peace of Christ this Christmas.

Leo O'Reilly
Bishop of Kilmore

No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

(Source: DK)

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