One of the questions so often asked on the radio at this time is; “What has been the highlight of your year?” Possibly a more correct way of saying this is: “What moment in 2017 has impacted upon you the most?”
For many this can’t always be answered with joy. As I write this message, the phone rings with the message from the wife of one of our senior parishioners informing me of her husband’s death. The pang of pain will impact a big change with her husband’s passing as the year of 2017 folds up. Others who have had this experience this year can quickly more deeply sympathise with the initial gap this creates. Equally, I recognise that for at least one family I know so well, they are living with the reality as their wife and mother’s terminal illness means a last Christmas as a full family. There are so many different pains and poverties we all face at differing times. While it is hard to understand why bad things happen to good people we can rest assured God gave us Jesus because of this love he has for us. Yes, as Jesus knew himself, so many afflictions strike all us.
2017 years have passed since the Christ child was born to Mary his mother. It’s a story we never get sick of hearing whether it be in song, drama or word. It’s the story of the poor boy come good in many ways. Long before he came into the world prophets came and went. Many predictions were met with rejection and as history tells the rejection to such a truth continued up until Christ’s birth and beyond. Only when Caesar Augustus ordered a census and the ridding of every first-born boy to death was it more closely realised that a King had been born. Yet, as Jesus said before he died on Calvary, “it is true. I am a King but not a King of this world.” He was truly the Son of God sent to atone for our sins. “I have come to give the Good News to the poor, to set the down trodden free.”
One current question before us is why do we have an increased number of homeless among us? It is true there is still a gap between the rich and the poor. However, the definition too often used about who the rich are points to the very high rollers of
society. If you were poor and destitute maybe the very poor’s definition might be ‘anyone who has more than nothing.’ The truth of the matter is that as Jesus told his disciples when they saw the 5,000-hungry standing before their Master, they told him to send them away and get something to eat. Jesus challenged the disciples by responding with the words, ‘Give them some of your own.’ This is what he is saying to us. Don’t look on and think it is not your responsibility! To fix any problem, do what you can in the name of Jesus and he will then do the rest.
I hope you have a happy and holy Christmas, a rest and come back charged up for
whatever 2018 has in store for us all.
Fr Mark Croker