2008 Christmas Message

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

   About 12,000 miles above the earth there are hundreds of huge “balloons” that we call communication satellites. With them, it is possible to contact people in any part of the world in less than one second. In the past 50 years, we have made tremendous strides in communication. People have phones installed in their cars in order to keep in touch with their offices and other businesses. We can fax messages all around the globe in minutes and practically everyone owns a cell phone so that we can talk with our friends and family members by pressing a few simple buttons. Our very lives seem to depend on effective communication.

   However, there have been negative results as well in all of this new emphasis on communication. Communicating with others has also become very impersonal. We spend a good deal of time talking to each other’s answering machines.

   If Christmas is about anything, it’s about communication. In the first reading for the Mass for Christmas day, we are told, “In times past, God spoke in fragmentary and varied ways to our ancestors through the prophets. In this final age, God has spoken to us through His Son.” In that same Mass, we listen to the beginning of St. John’s Gospel where Jesus is called The Word. What St. John is telling us when he calls Jesus the Word, is that Jesus is God’s way of communicating with us.

   What is the message that the Son of God gives to us by becoming human? By putting on our flesh? By becoming one of us in every way but sin? What Jesus is telling us is that God cares. He shows us that we matter to God. You matter, I matter, we all matter to God. We count enough with God that getting close to us has primary importance for Him. In our super technological age, Christmas reminds us that personal relationships matter, and that what should matter most to us is our personal relationship with God. Why shouldn’t we want to sing with the angels and dance with the shepherds as we gaze upon the Divine Child lying in the manger? When the scale of organizations and everything else seems to be getting bigger and more inhuman, the Christmas story reminds us that God’s message to us remains personal, and that person is Jesus Christ.

   May you all have a very blessed and a very merry Christmas!
Faithfully yours in Christ,

Most Rev. James M. Moynihan
Bishop of Syracuse

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