My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Imagine the joy that quickened Mary’s heart when on Christmas, in the humble surroundings of the stable, she first gazed on her son’s face!
That night the glory of the Lord shone down on shepherds. The light of the Star guided the Magi. It led them all to Bethlehem. There they saw, in the light of His face, the light of the world, for they truly gazed on the face of God.
As we begin this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis reminds us that “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy.” Out of love, God created the world. Out of love and mercy, He sent His Son to save it. We can truly look upon the birth of Christ as the birth of Mercy. As the Holy Father says, mercy became living and visible in Christ and in Him mercy reaches its culmination.
This Christmas, may we all know the gift of God, His very Son, born to us. No matter what our circumstances or those of the world, we can find great joy and renewed hope in the inexhaustible font of God’s love and mercy for each one of us. This is the meaning of Christmas. This is the power of Christmas to renew our lives and our world. Like the shepherds and Magi, may we bow before Him in our worship, seek His face in our prayer and reflect His love and mercy in our lives.
I pray too that throughout the Jubilee of Mercy, you may also feel Jesus’ compassionate gaze as He looks with love upon you. He came for each one of us and He calls each one of us. May that awareness be a light that guides us through the darkness of our lives and draws us closer to Him and one another. May this Jubilee of Mercy be the occasion for a deep renewal of our Church that all may see her as a loving mother who looks with love and mercy on all her children.
With every prayerful best wish for a Blessed and Merry Christmas, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. McManus
Bishop of Worcester