Bishop Anthony’s Christmas Message 2013

24/12/2013

A Christmas Message from Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, Catholic Bishop of Parramatta, December 2013

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At Christmas we adore the Baby Jesus lying in the manger and enthroned in His mother’s arms. We celebrate the Word of God in human flesh, the Prince of Peace bringing God’s reconciliation to every man, woman and child.

We are conscious that, like the Baby Jesus born in a stable, there are families who have lost their homes to the recent fires in the Blue Mountains region of the Diocese of Parramatta and elsewhere.

I pray that this Christmas the Holy Family will be especially present to the victims of the fires and those who have worked to keep them safe.

We are also conscious that like the Baby Jesus forced into exile by the terrible King Herod, many people today suffer for their faith. The International Society of Human Rights reports that acts of religious discrimination are escalating worldwide and that eight out of 10 of these are directed against Christians.

Throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, Christians face imprisonment, torture, forced labour, economic and other discrimination. ‘Religious cleansing’ is very real and over the past decade 100,000 Christians have been killed for their faith each year. That’s 11 Christians killed every hour of every day of every week of every year.

And there can be ‘softer’ forms of discrimination against believers, even in countries like our own. The fact is: not everyone welcomes the Baby Jesus.

At Christmas the king of the universe came as a baby not to conquer by fire or force but to win hearts and minds. We must be thankful for the freedom we have to celebrate Christmas and never forget those who are suffering.

I pray that the Prince of Peace will bless you and your loved ones this Christmas and in the year ahead!


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