Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As the days grow shorter and winter rains have finally begun to fall upon our parched valley, we echo the ancient Advent invitation:  “Let justice descend, you heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the clouds drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let righteousness spring up with them!” (Isaiah 45:8). 

Even as we have suffered years of drought, so it seems that our world is weary from the injustices of a broken immigration system, of war, persecution, and ethnic conflicts.  Epidemic illness and natural disasters in the form of tsunami, typhoon, hurricane and earthquake cause panic and unrest.  Yes, our world is weary; our world is tired.

And in the midst of all of this – as it first happened long ago to a people “who walked in darkness” – new Hope is born:  Jesus, the Christ.  He came as one with humanity, walking among us not as a visitor or a stranger, but as the Incarnate Word of God, born of Mary, the Virgin.  “To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation, to prisoners, freedom, and to the sorrowful of heart, joy” (Eucharistic Prayer IV).

You and I are charged by this same Lord to bear His Light to those who still sit in darkness, not waiting for them to move from the shadows.  In Christ’s name, we make that journey and, in the end, recognize Him in those who are imprisoned or hungry, the homeless, the newcomer and the alone.

The coming Christmas Feast will find us at the manger, as we welcome once more the One who is God from God and Light from Light.  May all of your celebrations renew you in faith, in hope and in love and may we pray together these words: “Jesus, living in Mary, come and be born in us.”  Our world needs us; let us answer the call to serve and to bring to all the joy of the Gospel.

Please know that you and your families and loved ones remain in my prayers and in special remembrance at Christmas Mass.

With every best wish and kind regard, I remain,

Sincerely yours,
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Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San Jose