Not everyone has someone to ‘look out for’ or care for them
Irish Church-goers have been urged to use the Christmas period to try and lighten the burden on people in their communities who may be suffering or feeling vulnerable.
In a joint Christmas message Primate of All-Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin and his Church of Ireland counterpart Archbishop Richard Clarke insist that “part of the challenge of Christmas is to seek to bring ‘safety’, in its widest sense, into the lives of those around us.
“There are people in our midst who are without the security of food or even of a roof over their heads. There are those who are newcomers to our country, perhaps of a different religious faith and culture, who feel that they are objects of suspicion and dislike.
“And there are also those whose need for security in their lives is less evident – those who are alone and afraid, those who are without friends and without people who will ‘look out for them’, and some who feel that their lives have become aimless or ‘useless’, almost empty of hope and confidence,” the Churchmen say in a message to be delivered on RTÉ television on Christmas Day.
Underlining the duty of Christians to care for those in need, the archbishops recall how in the Bible “Our Lord assures us that we meet him when we care for those who need us, whoever they may
“Christmas is a time when many of us are happy to have the emotional security and safety of our family and friends around us, and the comfort and assurance of strong faith in the birth of the Saviour.
“Let us be ready to share our safety and our ‘reasons for hoping’ with others,” the message concludes.
Both archbishops also recall a recent visit to Rome where they met with members of the lay organisation the Sant’Egidio Community to experience first-hand some of the work done by this ecclesial movement including caring for refugees.
The archbishops recall that “three Eritrean girls, possibly still teenagers, had arrived in Rome only a few hours earlier, having been rescued from danger in Ethiopia by members of the Sant’Egidio Community.
“In conversation, we asked the girls how they were now feeling. One of them, with a sudden huge smile on her face, replied in just one word – ‘safe’.”
The Primates say that “in the Old Testament God’s people were promised that if they trust in the Lord, they will find a place of rest, safety, security, a refuge and a reason for hope and confidence. The Christmas promise went deeper and further. To those who would put their trust in Him, Jesus came to offer spiritual safety – the reward of eternal salvation”.