At Christmas we celebrate the coming of Jesus. We can do so much good if we find ways of sharing His message with other people to help them to find ways of saying what their faith means to them.
Something extra is happening as we celebrate ‘the coming of Jesus’ this year. Pope Francis has asked Catholics to celebrate a Jubilee of Mercy. What does that have to do with ‘the coming of Jesus’? Well, let us think what happened to the world at the first Christmas when the Son of God ‘became man’. God can seem so far from our daily life, but He could not have come closer to us than by becoming one of us.
I sometimes meet people who feel light years away from God. There are many reasons why. Some of them imagine God is so remote that He could not possibly be interested in us. Like most priests, I have been really sad to hear people say that God has no room for them because of something bad they have done. So many people are thoroughly convinced they are beyond redemption.
Christmas says that is not true! God became one of us because we matter. And that means all of us – each and every one of us. Pope Francis has given us a fantastic Christmas present by asking us to focus on how merciful God is. He wants every sinner to feel at home in God's house.
At Christmas time people return home to places they are familiar with, maybe where they were born and brought up, to family and friends; anyone who wants to come back to God will be made welcome. God coming close to us at Christmas is mirrored every time one of us wants to come home to God. Please tell the people who stay away that this is their home; they will be welcomed back, without fuss, but with love.
Christmas makes us more aware than usual of the poor, of homeless and lonely people living among us. That is a blessing, because it helps us to ‘enter deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy’. At this time we must allow their plight to touch us deep inside so that we too may be generous in showing mercy. Let us remember too those who cannot be with family and friends, especially those who serve in our armed forces. May the Prince of Peace whose birth we celebrate bring peace to our world.
I hope that we will all have a happy Christmas with those we love and that we will not be afraid to open our hearts to the welcome offered by our Saviour. With my prayers and every good wish for a peaceful Christmas.
Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP,
Archbishop of Liverpool