My friends, I am grateful for this opportunity to reflect on this past year as we celebrate anew the
birth of the Saviour.
It is good to experience the recovery in the economy and the employment it brings. Though we
know the “rising tide” is not lifting all the boats. Very many are under great strain because
accommodation and housing is scarce or beyond their reach. A new political impetus is required
along with real determination to make inroads into this critical need in so many people’s lives.
The repeal of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution leaves us with several fundamental issues
unresolved. It will have profound implications for the kind of society we hope to create for future
generations. That’s a reflection for another day.
The drought of the summer has brought home to us the global nature of climate change and the
challenge it poses to our style of life. It calls for a conversion of heart and mind that will enable us
to think beyond our own needs and to consider our impact on the lives of others. It is put so simply
and directly by Pope Francis when he asks that we care for our “common home”.
Speaking of Pope Francis, he honoured us with a memorable visit in August. Sadly, he had some
detractors. Nevertheless, his spiritual wisdom along with his warmth, compassion and courage
lifted our hearts and we are thankful. We pray for him as he seeks to meet the many challenges that
failure of leadership has inflicted on many church communities.
My friends, these days of Advent and Christmas are full of hope and joy as we celebrate all that is
best by way of faith, friends and family. Because we have enjoyed many wonderful Christmas
celebrations, our thoughts and prayers are with the families for whom this Christmas will be
marked by loss of a loved one. May those bereaved find healing and consolation.
May these days of celebration fill us with a deep sense of gratitude for our many blessings. May
our experience of goodness and generosity lead us to share from our abundance and plenty. May
Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us, bless you and keep you, look upon you with kindness and give you
serenity and peace. Happy Christmas!