It’s a year today since the public announcement of Bishop Paul Martin’s appointment to the diocese of Christchurch. Our new bishop inherited a few challenges and since his ordination in early March he has guided the people of the diocese to embrace these challenges as opportunities.
When people think of challenges in Christchurch earthquakes quickly come to mind. In recent years we have had to focus on rebuilding the infrastructure of the city. Our diocese has also faced these challenges as churches and schools have needed repair and replacement.
In Bishop Paul’s Advent letter to the diocese of Christchurch he reminds us that while the buildings and Christmas preparations are important, the call to the followers of Jesus is to take this Advent / Christmas opportunity to a deeper level.
Bishop Paul writes:
You might be feeling the hype of pre-Christmas parties. You could be busy tying up loose ends at work. Some families are flat out trying to get all the gift shopping done, preparing for relatives to visit, or trying to organise a trip away.
The Church sends us a different message with a different focus for this time.
As Catholics we are encouraged to spend some of this time preparing for the coming of Jesus in quiet and stillness. The Church invites you and me to use this time to reflect and to grow, just as we might during Lent.
Advent is a blessed time to contemplate the way God chose to come into this world. In the presence of shepherds, in a simple manger, His coming was far from a grand affair. God humbled Himself to come as a helpless baby. He was reliant on the care of those around Him. Advent is also a time for us to take stock of ourselves, and how many of us have relied and continue to rely on others throughout our lives.
Jesus will always come to visit us first in our brokenness. To grow spiritually we first begin with our brokenness.
While we take this journey we can go out and meet others in the same way.
The way we treat others demonstrates a deeper reflection of our relationship with Jesus. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.”
Take an opportunity today to give some of your time to a person in need. This might mean spending five extra minutes listening to a person you find difficult or making contact by phone text or email with someone you know to be struggling.
You might consider making a gift to those in need this Advent. You will know of friends, family, neighbours and workmates who would appreciate a gift of your time or resources.
Bishop Paul is a great supporter of Food For Faith and if you would like to support his Advent Bishop’s Care Appeal you can do so by clicking on the banner below.