Christmas Message from Bishop Richard Moth
On December 8th, Pope Francis opened the "Holy Door" in St. Peter's in Rome. This ceremony marked the beginning of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, a time that Pope Francis has called the Church throughout the world to celebrate. By the time the Year of Mercy ends in 2016, countless pilgrims will have walked through the Holy Door, offering prayers and opening their minds and hearts to a God who calls us to share His love and mercy with others.
Pope Francis also asked that the Cathedral Churches of the world open Holy Doors, to enable people to make a special pilgrimage during this year. So, on 13th December, the Holy Door of the Cathedral Church in Arundel was opened. It was a wonderful celebration with people from all over the Diocese joining together to mark this special year.
Holy Doors are helpful signs for us. The open door is a reminder that we must open the doors of our minds and hearts to the wonder of God's love for us and to those around us too. This can be challenging and uncomfortable. I may not feel ready for others - of for God. I may fell a little bit vulnerable as I open myself to God,s love and his call to go out to others.
Christmas is the day on which we celebrate the birth of Jesus, We see the Christ-child, vulnerable as all babies are vulnerable, relying completely on the love and care of Mary and Joseph. He is born in poverty, soon to be a refugee in a foreign land. This infant, whose birth we celebrate is God-with-us. In Jesus we see God becoming vulnerable with and for us.
He invites us to open to door of our hearts to mercy. He invites us to open the door of welcome to others, especially to those who are themselves weak, alone, poor, unwell in mind or body, to the refugee, the prisoner and the one affected by crime, to those are searching for mercy themselves. In being merciful, we find true happiness and wholeness in our lives.
May this Christmas, in this special Jubilee Year of Mercy, be a time when every one of us finds afresh the mercy of the God who loves us and a time when we are truly merciful to others. May our homes, our places of work, our churches, our shops and streets be places of mercy - and may you and your loved ones have a truly happy and blessed Christmas.