Cardinal Sean's Christmas message (recorded for Vatican Radio)
"On a starry night on a hillside outside of Bethlehem, choirs of angels shared the Good News of Jesus’ birth with shepherds tending their flocks. This was the first time that the message of God having come into the world in the person of Jesus was shared with anyone. Luke’s Gospel tells us that the shepherds went in haste and found Mary, Joseph and the infant. The shepherds then shared the news of that discovery with the people of the surrounding area, all of who were amazed to learn that the promise of the Messiah had been fulfilled, and went forth giving praise and glory to God.
The belief of the shepherds who heard the voices of angels, and of the people who heard the shepherds’ testimony, set into motion a sharing of faith that has endured for more than two millennia and has spread to all corners of the world. We can barely imagine how much less our lives would be if those who heard of Jesus’ birth that first Christmas night did not believe, or if they did not share the joyous news with their families, friends and communities. But the people did believe, they did share the news, and we celebrate that the Word became man and dwelt among us.
The ancient world of Bethlehem needed the faith and enthusiasm of those who would proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ, and so does our world today. In too many ways the darkness of oppression, persecution and lack of respect for human dignity threatens to overshadow us, and in too many ways the truth that each and every person is created in the image and likeness of God is denied.
The light of Christ shines through all darkness and guides us, it strengthens and sustains us in our most difficult moments, it assures us of the promise of eternal life. As the people of the Church we must share our faith with those around us, our families, friends and communities, and so let the light of Christ shine forth in our world. We must work together as brothers and sisters to dispel the darkness and to help one another to live the call to holiness. By doing so we give the greatest and most enduring gift; the gift of life in Jesus Christ."