Saturday, December 24, 2011

AUSTRALIA : CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM ARCHBISHOP HICKEY

A Christmas Message

from
Most Rev B J Hickey
Archbishop of Perth


ARCHDIOCESE OF PERTH RELEASE: When we remember the birth of Jesus at Christmas, let us focus on that joy He brought to the world and His good news.
Every year, we celebrate and remember His birth not because He changed the world, but because He is the Son of God who came down from Heaven to show us the way to Heaven, to happiness.
Extraordinary happiness awaits us in Heaven if we can live in this world the way Jesus calls us to live.
In our daily lives, we are called to be like Christ, to offer His good news to the world around us, wherever we are, beginning first in our families and then bearing His light in our daily lives in the world.
Jesus came to establish His Kingdom. By bearing witness to the light, like St John the Baptist did, we can help build up the Kingdom of God on earth.
The world needs this good news. When we look around us and see all the violence and hatred in the world, it doesn’t look like God’s Kingdom at all.
There are challenges facing the Church today such as rampant secularism and a tendency to sideline God from the meaning of existence. This is not the way forward.
Human life is threatened at all stages, beginning in the womb. We must offer the good news of Jesus, which recognises life from the moment of conception.
Many children caught up in their parents’ marriage breakdown have to find their own way in the world. We must offer the good news of Jesus.
Many teenagers are caught up in a culture of drugs and sex well before they know the true meaning of their body and the responsibility that comes with love. We must offer the good news of Jesus.
Although we see the political threat to traditional marriage, we must hold firm to the teachings of Christ and those that are married must continue to live as He called them to. Church teaching and its definition of marriage as a free, faithful, total and fruitful union between a man and a woman open to life will not change, simply because the winds of political change are blowing around us.
We know the message of Christ is good news for people. We know that trying faithfully to follow His way is the way to finding happiness despite all the difficulties that face us.
Despite the negativity the Church has to face in the world, look to the future with confidence.
We must continue to offer this good news to the world because the world needs it. Each one of us should accept our call from Christ to be His witnesses at home and wherever we go.
Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem was a sign of great hope for the world and now that hope is entrusted to us to bring to our family and to the world today.
We each have to play our part wherever we are in bringing the good news to others.
I join the joy of all our parishes as they celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas. We here in the Cathedral will join with all our parishes in trying to be a light of hope, offering Christ in the centre of our city.
We wish all the joy and graces of Christmas to everyone and hope that Catholics everywhere will make sure that they are at Mass in their parishes at Christmas.
Let us hope that they can also bring their friends along who aren’t Catholic to Mass this Christmas.
Image: Nativity scene, stained glass window, Our Lady Help of Christians in East Victoria Park parish, Photo: courtesy The Record.

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