Sunday September 22, 2019
6:24 pm
Bishop Hying

A Christmas message from Bishop Donald J. Hying

As published in the Northwest Indiana Catholic on December 18, 2016

 

       Whenever anyone asks me what I want for Christmas, I always say, “World Peace.”  The questioner usually does not find that response particularly helpful, but it is my sincere and true answer. We live in a world torn apart by violence - the destruction of war, the evil of terrorism, the nightmare of Syria, the martyrdom of Christians, the shootings in our streets, abuse of people beyond reckoning.  Add to that sad narrative the violence of words and attitudes against minorities, women, the unborn, the poor and just about every other group of people imaginable. 

       We call Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace, the One whose coming in the flesh has ushered in the Kingdom of God, whose vision invites us to dream and build a civilization of love, respect, justice, mercy and truth. When our hearts and lives take root in the life of God, true peace will flourish because we will genuinely love everyone and seek the common good. So much violence flows from the disorder of injustice, hatred, indifference, greed and abuse. As Pope Paul VI famously said, “If you want peace, work for justice.”

       As we contemplate the peacefulness of the Nativity scene, we can feel the love shared between Joseph and Mary, for God, each other and the Christ Child. We see this warm, vulnerable, little baby -God come in the Flesh - come to love, heal, bless and forgive. 

       Just beyond the immediacy of that beautiful Christmas scene, however, lies the homelessness and poverty of the Holy Family, the murderous jealousy of King Herod, the shadow of Roman persecution and rejection and the mystery of the cross.  This paradoxical mixture of light and darkness, peace and violence, love and hate, acceptance and rejection teaches us that we can actually attain true peace in this life only if we stay centered in the love of the Lord, despite the swirl of conflict all around us. God calls us to loving, just, merciful and joyous relationships.

       I wish and pray the peace of Christmas to you, your families, neighborhoods, parishes and places of work. I hope you come to know the infinite and joyous love of God, poured out in Jesus Christ, in a deeper way in this wondrous season of light and blessing. May we become ever more effective peace makers, bridge builders who offer hearts of love and mercy to everyone around us, especially those who are broken, sad, angry and marginalized. 

       The world needs peace more than ever. We know the secret answer of how to achieve it. Peace is a person, not just an experience, and when we live in the love of God, peace breaks out all over the place.  Have a blessed and Merry Christmas! May the Prince of Peace fill your minds and hearts with goodness and joy!

 

+ Donald J. Hying

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