'Lavishness of Christmas' a reminder of the 'homeless, the poor, the rejected'

Archbishop Eamon Martin has said it is the 'very lavishness of Christmas' that gives us a heightened consciousness of the 'homeless, the poor, the rejected'.

In a joint Christmas message with the Church of Ireland Archbishop John McDowell, Archbishop Martin spoke of the rampant consumerism that can characterise the festive season in the modern era.

"We tie ourselves ever more tightly into the world of 'getting and spending' and have communion in consumption. But we can’t shake off the feeling that there is a fragility about our indulgence; that somewhere there is a frail seam that will give way; a nagging feeling that there will come a day when there won’t be more tomorrow.

"At this time of the year, perhaps, it is the very lavishness of Christmas that gives us a heightened consciousness of (and a bad conscience about) the 'little ones' mentioned so often in the Gospels: the homeless, the poor, the rejected, and all those who long to see the world turned upside down again, when 'the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters fill the sea'," the Archbishops stated.

Archbishop Eamon Martin

The primates spoke of how difficult the last two years have been for people both physically, psychologically, economically and spiritually.

"At present there are many people who have had not just the two worst Christmases ever, but two of the worst years ever - those whose bodies have been overwhelmed, or whose minds have been scrambled by Covid-19; those who’ve had bereavements during the pandemic, whose plans have been cancelled, families separated, visits curtailed, operations postponed, businesses and livelihoods upturned.

"If the Spirit is saying anything to the Churches this Christmas, might it not be to think about how we, as individuals, but also as a society, can enter prayerfully and hopefully into that great mystery of the 'Word made flesh', and hold on to more of the upside down world embodied in the Gospel narratives?" they asked.