How many of us have been moved to tears during the past few days as we watched our youngest children take part in the many Nativity plays being presented to proud parents and grandparents? Rightly so, our children, and everyone else’s, are precious and thrive on being loved, protected and affirmed.
In the reading from St. Matthew’s Gospel for the fourth Sunday in Advent we read of the soon to be born child, Emmanuel a name meaning “God is with us” This child who was born a stranger in a town unwilling to welcome and provide shelter for his family.
Again how many of us will gather around the crib in our various places of worship and feel truly blessed as we listen to the sweet music of the well loved carol ‘Silent Night’ and then return home to ‘sleep in heavenly peace’?
Our slumber needs to be seriously disturbed so that we wake up to the harsh reality in evidence all around us. We must listen to and respond to other stories this Christmas, ones that should make us feel much less cosy.
In his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Lætitia Pope Francis urges us all to keep in mind the following words of the Pontifical Council on the Family, (22 October 1983)
“the family has the right to decent housing, fitting for family life and commensurate to the number of the members, in a physical environment that provides the basic services for the life of the family and the community. Families and homes go together and should be able to count on an adequate family policy on the part of public authorities in the juridical, economic, social and fiscal domains”
So, in this bleak mid- winter (not long ago) as we raise our voices and proclaim that had we been present we would have brought lambs, done our part and given our hearts, will we really mean it?
Anne Peacey 23.12.16
Comment for Catholic Universe 23/30.12.16