CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM BISHOP PAT FOR 2017

Where is God? At some stage of our life we are bound to ask that question. It might come after a particularly tough time in our life: a close member of the family or a friend suddenly dies, maybe a long-time job is unexpectedly lost. It might come in a joyous manner, such as seeing the unrestrained joy on the faces of our young people at the recent Australian Catholic Youth Festival. 2017 might have given us pause to ask that question when we in Victoria have passed legislation allowing Physician Assisted Suicide; maybe we are still coming to terms with the recently wrapped up Royal Commission. Where is God indeed!

Maybe 2017 has been a wonderful year for us as it has witnessed new life come into our family. Where is God? is one of those questions that can sum up both our joys and our sorrows, our hopes and our despairs.

And then comes Christmas. For Christmas reminds us once again how to fully answer that, what at times is a persistent question, “Where is God?” Christmas reminds us that the answer is simple. Where is God? Why right with us of course; God is with us, Emmanuel. God has not forsaken us, for in fact it is God who took the first step in coming to meet us. I often ask why, in the Northern hemisphere, Christmas falls in Winter. Maybe to remind us that it is often at the darkest times that the light can be brightest.

May Christmas be a time of faith and family, and may Jesus Christ, the true light of the world, draw us ever into the mystery of God’s love.

PS Of course those of a certain generation will always know how to answer that old Catechism question: Q: Where is God? A: God is everywhere. Christmas guarantees that.

+Pat O’Regan   Bishop of Sale