Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Message for Christmas 2013 by Bishop William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne
“Today I commend and thank all the individuals and groups who have given so generously of their time and resources to ensure that so many on the margins know that they are cared for and continue to be close to our hearts” – Bishop Crean
“The Joy of the Gospel fills the lives and hearts of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness.
With Christ joy is constantly born anew” – with these words Pope Francis begins his letter to the whole Church on how we might understand what promise and hope our faith and trust in Jesus can bring to life. It is the promise of a man of faith who in so short a time has captured the attention and spiritual imagination of so many people all over the world, within and without the Church.
In a time of demand and stress it can be very difficult to find joy and contentment. The first Christmas in Bethlehem was difficult for the young Mary and Joseph as they searched for a place of security and comfort. Their anxiety and worry reflect the struggle and anxiety of so many families who fret and worry about keeping a roof over their heads.
In the Crib we witness a truly fragile family – though divine in origin they are exposed to all that can be most difficult in life. The Child is the centre of everyone’s concern and care.
Jesus will not re-call this risk to his infant life yet He would learn through Mary and Joseph a deep compassion for those who are at risk by way of poverty, mental illness, exclusion and rejection. Such was His sensitivity that he challenged all who failed to care.
While we rejoice in the good news of the birth of the special One, the Son of God, we commit ourselves to embrace again that vision of life that includes all of humanity – regardless of creed, code or cult.
Today I commend and thank all the individuals and groups who have given so generously of their time and resources to ensure that so many on the margins know that they are cared for and continue to be close to our hearts.
While the EU/IMF Troika may have in political terms given us “the purse back”, great hardship continues to be inflicted on fragile families and schools. Satisfying the Troika and the recovery of sovereignty may appease the markets yet the trickle down of their austerity formula to genuine good families has been most unjust. Political leaders need soon to redress these impositions. Otherwise, satisfying the markets will reap a very negative social harvest in Irish society.
I wish you and your families every blessing and joy this Christmas time. I too wish all those in leadership a time of rest and pray for a new energy to serve all those in our care.