Archbishop Miller’s Christmas Message 2015


Dear brother priests, deacons, seminarians, consecrated men and women, and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Vancouver:

Jesus entered our world to free us from the darkness of sin and to grant us the light of salvation. In the Child born of the Virgin Mary, God revealed his goodness and mercy in a definitive way. His manifestation on earth marked the beginning of the great time of mercy. With the birth of Jesus the heavens were opened. God gave us his Son, who took upon himself our humanity and our sins in order to offer us his gift of mercy.

And it is that divine mercy which we are celebrating during the Jubilee of Mercy declared by Pope Francis. In the merciful presence of Jesus in our midst, God has finally revealed the full tenderness of his heart. A bridge of mercy now connects each one of us to him. The Holy Year of Mercy calls to a deeper appreciation of God’s fatherly tenderness, a tenderness so touchingly manifested by Mary’s nursing her Baby and by Joseph’s watching over the Holy Family in the Bethlehem stable.

The Son of God, who found a home in Mary’s womb, comes in the celebration of Christmas to knock once again at the heart of each one of us. He comes and knocks, calling us to respond, like her, with a personal and sincere “yes,” placing ourselves completely in the hands of God’s mercy and love.

How many times Jesus comes into our lives, and how many times he sends us an angel, and how many times we don’t notice him because we are so immersed in our own thoughts, in our own affairs and even in our Christmas preparations! As Christmas draws near, let us take the time to listen in silence to his gentle knocking at the holy door of our heart. He is inviting us to a closer relationship with him, to the healing of broken relationships and to the offering of the balm of mercy to others.

A beautiful way to celebrate the birth of Mercy is for us to show mercy. The pardoning of offences is the clearest expression of merciful love. For Christians it is an imperative from which we cannot excuse ourselves. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7). This is the Beatitude to which we should particularly aspire to put into practice during this Holy Year of Mercy.

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