January 2007

Fr. Antony PortraitDear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Christ is Born!

I have been deeply moved by the stories Fr. Timothy Ferguson brought back from his trip to the Holy Land. The terrible plight of the Palestinian people comes alive when he speaks. Of course, the American media does not report the systematic injustices they suffer day in and day out.

The terrible genocide being visited upon the people of Darfur in Sudan continue and yet the world sleeps

Iraq is ablaze and whether or not you believe the blighted country is in the midst of civil war, one cannot ignore the inhumanity of the situation that threatens to spread into a region-wide conflagration. The number of dead and injured American soldiers and Iraqi civilians piles up daily.

In the United States, we have incarcerated more of our people than any other country in the western world, over one million. The homeless situation throughout our land is at a critical level, thirty to forty million are without health care, children go to bed hungry while the rich build bigger barns.

Into this world Jesus was born and for this He died. We are called to respond. It is easy to forget, to turn away, to live as if none of this were true, but it is.

How to respond? First take notice of the problems where we live. Become aware of the people and the tasks immediately before us and then, do something good. Small or large, do something. Anything. Whatever you can. No good deed is insignificant.

On a larger scale we need to remember that the Church and Christians themselves are supposed to be yeast in society. Our very presence as the light of the world should expose, not cover up, the works of darkness, as St. Paul writes. We must not be afraid to speak truth to power, to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, to give out of our abundance to alleviate the suffering of the world around us.

Our calling goes well beyond the exhibition of piety in Church. We are called to bring light, peace, justice to the world, to open ourselves to the same injustice suffered by others in order to effect some change even at the expense of our own comfort and safety. Jesus left the safety of heaven to be crucified for the world. We are called to do no less.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Antony Hughes