Christmas Season 2022: Our love flows only from Prince of Peace
In his Message for Christmas 2022, Australian Archbishop Timothy Costelloe of Perth, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, considers the way the Prince of Peace enters into our lives as a little Child in need of a warm reception.
Archbishop Tim Costelloe’s 2022 Christmas Message
Greetings to you all from the city of Perth in Western Australia, where we are celebrating Christmas in the height of summer. While some of you may be dreaming of a white Christmas, we here in Australia are enjoying a warm Christmas Day and perhaps a swim at the beach after the midday meal.
As we celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace, we are all very conscious that in many parts of the world, Christmas is celebrated in conditions of warfare, violence, persecution or extreme poverty and deprivation. Where we might ask, is the Prince of Peace to be found? What has happened to the Lord's promise of the gift of peace? Is this just a case of empty words rather than realistic hopes?
Perhaps the answer to these troubling questions can be found in the realization that the peace which the Lord gives is indeed a gift. It is freely given, freely offered to us by the Lord. But of course, like any gift, it must be gratefully received and then made good use of. For us as Christians, the greatest gift of all is God's gift of Himself in Jesus Christ. We rightly call Christ the Prince of Peace. But in reality, He is more than this.
He is our peace. It is in welcoming Him, in opening our minds, our hearts and our lives to Him and accepting Him as our way and our truth and our life, that we can begin to be the peacemakers whom He Himself calls blessed. We follow Christ and only Him, for He is our way. We commit ourselves in faith and trust to Him and only Him, for He is our truth. We live in communion with Him and only Him, for He is our life.
It is from this that everything else will flow. Our love for our family, our friends, and those who are dear to us. Our respect for the innate dignity of every human being without exception. Our care for our common home: the precious gift of God's creative love. Our compassion and concern for the rejected and marginalized and the poor. And our desire to be makers of peace rather than agents of hostility and war.
We will not find deep and lasting peace in ourselves, our families, our society, the Church or across the world, except in Christ, who is our peace. As you gaze on the infant Jesus lying helpless in the manger, may your heart be broken, open to receive Him into your lives so that He can become the gift of peace, which you then share with others. I wish you all a happy and holy Christmas.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, SDB
Archbishop of Perth
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference
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