Christmas message: Limerick bishops share vision of peace and unity

Christmas message: Limerick bishops share vision of peace and unity

Bishop Kenneth Kearon and Bishop Brendan Leahy

The news of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem reaches through the centuries and speaks directly to our modern age.

A baby born in poverty, soon to be a refugee in Egypt, yet who grew up into someone who changed human history and opened the way to God for all humanity.

The mysterious stories around his birth only make sense when we see the person he grew up to be; when we hear his teaching, see his death, celebrate his resurrection.

We have much to celebrate – humanity transformed, and a message of hope and peace for us all.

This Christmas we as bishops will attend and offer a greeting at each other’s Mass and Eucharist on Christmas Eve in the cathedrals in simple witness to the reconciling and uniting power of the Christ-child.

In doing we want to share the message of angels and shepherds of peace and goodwill to all humankind, made real in the birth of Jesus, the Son of God.

Yes, because the news about the Child Jesus isn’t a myth or a story we read about in a museum. He came two thousand years ago to bring about a new world, to make of our world one family. And he continues to come, to be at our side helping us to build a new world of transformed relationships.

At Christmas time, we focus especially on our families.

The word ‘peace’ is synonymous with Christmas and that begins in many ways in our own families and homes. It is good for us to slow down, spend more time with our loved ones. Perhaps give back what we don’t give across the rest of the year.

It’s also a time for setting aside difficulties or differences we might have had with loved ones during the year.

Those hugs and gestures of ‘Happy Christmas’ fall easy.

Of course, it’s also a time for us to reach out to those for whom Christmas is not an easy time; perhaps they are on their own, have lost a loved one, are down on their luck.

We can lend a listening ear, feel the pain or simply offer a smile to express our love and support.

And as we greet and wish one another well this Christmas, let’s remember in gratitude those working in hospitals, nursing homes, garda stations and other public service roles.

They are away from their families in service of the rest of us.

We wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas.

- Bishop Brendan Leahy and Bishop Kenneth Kearon