December 25, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

One holy night 2,000 years ago, the Son of God became man. Born in a lowly stable, the Mighty God and Prince of Peace came to dwell among us.

“I bring you good news of a great joy for all the people; to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11).

This Christmas, the Angel’s proclamation rings out once again, inviting each of us to welcome our Saviour. Let us not hesitate to allow him into our homes, parishes, schools, workplaces, and communities!

It’s understandable that today many ask whether we still need a “Saviour.” After all, this is 2017. Is a saviour still required by a civilization that has reached the moon and peers to the ends of the universe? By a humanity that has deciphered the intricate codes of the human genome, navigates the Internet and has made the earth, our common home, a global village? Despite these great achievements, however, there is another side to the coin. In the Lower Mainland, homelessness abounds, and human trafficking robs countless women and girls of their dignity. Others are victims of ethnic and religious intolerance and discrimination. Political interference and coercion with regard to the free exercise of religion and conscience are growing.

And what of people who are trapped in the loneliness of our neighbourhoods and who, seeking solace, often end up addicted to alcohol or drugs? What about those who “choose” death in the belief that they are celebrating life?

All of us need to be saved, freed from all that holds us back from living as God wants us to live. All of us need a Saviour.

Humanity today is searching for a way ahead, a reversal of the suffering and evil of our world. It is looking for “something better.” Perhaps, unconsciously, it is waiting for the coming of the “Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”

Yes, we need a Saviour. And God in his merciful goodness has sent the world that Saviour, who became flesh in Mary’s virginal womb. At Christmas we celebrate that even now Jesus comes “unto his own,” and to those who receive him he gives “the power to become children of God” (Jn 1:11-12).

Jesus comes to offer to everyone the joy and peace that alone can fulfil the deep yearnings of the human heart. He gives us the chance to see the Father’s glory and to open ourselves to others in love. This is Jesus’ Christmas gift to us.

The proclamation of joy – that God is with us in Jesus Christ – is meant for all men and women. Jesus was born as Saviour for everyone. Just as Mary, in Bethlehem, presented him to the shepherds, we too are called to present Jesus to one and all, so that each person and every human situation may come to know the tenderness of God’s merciful love.

May the joy of Christmas spur us all to proclaim joy to the world because God is present in our midst and walks with us in our journey through life!

With my prayers and blessing, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ J. Michael Miller, CSB

Archbishop of Vancouver

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