Bishop Alan Williams sm has issued a pastoral letter for the Feast of the Holy Family.
While we rejoice in the great truth of the incarnation, he said, we also see some troubling elements in the Christmas story. “The Holy Family were migrants, travelling from the security of Nazareth to the homelessness of Bethlehem. And in today’s Gospel Joseph is warned of great danger: ‘Get up, take His mother and the child with you and escape into Egypt.’”
He continued: “It can sometimes seem impossible to glimpse the things of heaven in today’s world. We are confronted with the needs of refugees, the appalling struggles faced by victims of trafficking, the enduring realities of war and injustice. Sometimes there has been an absence of compassion and kindness even within the community of the Church which have caused great scandal regardless of faith. Young people notice and name most acutely this mismatch between aspiration and reality. It is often our young who have been prophetic in talking about climate change and its potentially terrible consequences.”
Yet the presence of the Child Redeemer at Bethlehem is an enduring sign of hope for the Church and for the world, he said. “Pope Francis has written movingly of the Crib of Bethlehem and how St Francis built a living crib: ‘as we contemplate the Christmas story, we are invited to set out on a spiritual journey…’
Bishop Alan concluded: “During the coming New Year, I invite all members of the diocese to a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ who longs to bring us more and more into his family.”
Read the full letter here: Bishop Alan’s Pastoral Letter for the Feast of the Holy Family 2019