God Is With Us
We come once again to our heart-warming Feast and celebration of Christmas.
It is both a celebration of an event as well as a reminder of something that is always with us - the Incarnation. We have an Incarnate God. Our God of the universe is not only transcendent, i.e. above and beyond us, but is also intimately connected with us.
“The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us” (Jn1:14). Because the Word, the Son of God, is among us it is also true that He is within us.
In our Church we are so blessed. We are certain that through Baptism and the Sacraments Jesus comes to live within us through His Holy Spirit. The regular celebration of the Eucharist nourishes, strengthens and grows that ‘Life’ of Jesus within.
Wherever and in whomsoever the Spirit of Jesus and the Father is, there also is Jesus our Incarnate God. In other words, Jesus the Son of God is part of our world and the lives of people - and very much so with ‘People of Goodwill’.
Where there is suffering, there is Jesus, giving courage and drawing good out of it. Jesus also provides help and healing through those working to relieve and heal suffering.
Where there is violence, there is Jesus offering another way and providing people who work for peace and justice.
Jesus is with all who work and toil, reminding them of the dignity of work and drawing forth much fruit from that work.
Where there is joy, there is Jesus, sharing and enhancing it.
Where there is love, there Jesus also is, perfecting and deepening it.
Where there are fears, Jesus is there giving courage and hope.
Where there is sorrow and grief, Jesus is there bringing comfort.
Jesus is in our homes, building up relationships and family life.
Jesus is with those working for the poor and for justice, inspiring them both by His example as well as His strong presence.
We could go on and on. What we can do as we look at the various situations in our lives, and around us, is to go to the Gospels and see how they, or rather how Jesus is connected to each happening.
When the ‘Word made flesh’ is given special names like Jesus (Our Saviour), Christ (The Anointed and Specially Chosen One), Lord, Master, Teacher, Rabbi, it is no wonder then that the Gospels also give Him that other special name Emmanuel - ‘God is with us’ (Mt 1:23).
One simple way I use is the Prayer of the Angelus. At the beginning of the day I start my prayer by quietly and reflectively praying the Angelus. In our Diocesan Office we pause together at midday to pray together the Angelus. One day please God, when bells are installed in our beautiful Cathedral, they will ring out the Angelus.
In the Angelus, using words from the Gospel with other prayers, we stop and remember how our Incarnate and loving God is part of our work, our lives, of all that we do and of all that happens to us.
Christmas and all that it means flows over to and affects the whole year - and the Angelus is one way of helping us appreciate that more.
I wish you all the rich fruits of Christmas both at this Season and for the year.