Dear Brothers and Sisters,
During Advent and Christmas, we focus intently on the events surrounding the Birth of the Lord Jesus. While the seasonal hymns, songs and iconography displayed in our homes and churches point to the joy and peace of His Birth, all was not peaceful or joyous. We also remember the dangerous and treacherous paths that led to His Birth and soon followed.
The Holy Family traveled from Nazareth to the City of David, Bethlehem, when the Birth of the Child Jesus was near. Then, prompted in a dream, Joseph led Jesus and Mary to Egypt, to thwart the plans of Herod who sought to kill the holy Child.
The plight today of migrants, refugees and other persons displaced from the Middle East, northern Africa and Latin America is a sad reminder that families remain vulnerable even in our own time. God is not indifferent to this human tragedy; neither can we be indifferent. These are our sisters and brothers, as surely as if they were our own flesh and blood. Indeed, in the mystery of the Incarnation, humanity is inextricably bound to God who, in Christ Jesus, became one of us. Because of this great mystery, we “kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (from Ephesians 3).
May the grace and mercy of God, overflowing in our hearts, lead us and all people safely to the ways of peace, justice and love. In the name of the Lord, may we work on behalf of twenty-first century refugees in ways that relieve their sufferings. And may God bless you, your families and your loved ones this Christmas and always.
With every best wish and kind regard, I remain,
Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San Jose