A Saviour has been born for us - Mass of Christmas 2017

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Home > Archbishop > Homilies > A Saviour has been born for us - Mass of Christmas 2017

‘Today a Saviour has been born to us, He is Christ the Lord.’ (Luke 2:11)

Humanity needs a Saviour. I need a Saviour. Each of us needs a Saviour.

On this holy night, as we contemplate the birth of Christ, let us consider why He came. Let us reflect on that wonderful title, ‘Saviour’.

God created the universe and all He created was good. The highpoint of His creation was us: human beings. God endowed us with free will. We can choose to unite ourselves with God or we can choose to cut ourselves off from God.

And sadly many have chosen the latter course. So many human beings do not know God; so many live as though God does not exist.

Humanity in Adam and Eve, though they knew God intimately, chose to reject His loving governance over their lives. Their original sin set up the pattern of humanity’s choice of rejecting God.

And the world became troubled. Individual lives became troubled. The ways of truth and goodness and right were abandoned. Self-will was chosen and the provident will of God rejected. And humanity has suffered and continues to suffer.

Sadly, our own society has chosen to cut itself free from its Christian heritage as it has voted to reject God’s plan for marriage and family. There are so many social forces that deny the intentions of the Creator for the way in which human life should be lived. Society suffers as it loses an orientation towards God and God’s loving plan.

It is not easy to be a believer these days, and it will get more difficult in the time ahead.

In the face of a world that has turned away from God, we struggle – we all struggle – to maintain a strong spiritual dimension to our lives. The world crowds us in. We are enticed to seek worldly pleasures. We find ourselves lowering our standards. We become convinced that something less than the good is acceptable. We compromise ourselves.

Our society – humanity as a whole – needs a Saviour. We all need to find the truth which can guide our lives. We all need to be inspired to embrace virtue and goodness. We all know that our soul needs to be healed and restored.

Humanity cannot make it on its own. Each of us individually cannot make it on our own. We need a Saviour.

The Church traditionally has pointed to three dangers to the salvation of our souls: the world, the flesh and the Devil.

Firstly, the world. The allure of the pleasures of this life can deaden our moral and spiritual wellbeing. The pursuit of material enjoyments can numb our sense of the spiritual dimension to life. We take care of our bodies but don’t take care of our souls. We seek the things of this earth and not the things of heaven. We follow earthly trendsetters, and not seek to be disciples of the true Master, Jesus Christ.

We need a Saviour to lift us from our worldly existence and draw us into God’s Kingdom. The world needs a Saviour.

Secondly, the flesh: our fallen human nature. Deep down inside we know the truth of our human frailty. For example, our propensity to allow emotions to drive our words and actions. We know that we compromise our conscience and make ready excuses for ourselves. We avoid acknowledging that we have sinned. We so readily rationalise our failures and not seek forgiveness. In this we are not allowing God to heal and restore our souls.

We defiantly go it alone. We lack the humility to say that we need help. We do not turn to God in our weakness. We do not recognise that God waits to heal, because He came to save.

We each need God to save us from ourselves, but we don’t ask for help.  We are weak, sinful creatures and we need a Saviour.

Thirdly, the Devil. There is a spiritual battle going on in the world for the soul of every human being. The Devil is active, prowling round like a lion, as the psalmist says. He is described as the ‘prince of this world’ by the Lord himself. He seduces souls. He deceives by false promises. He seeks our ruination.

Every time we say the Lord’s Prayer, we pray that the Lord may save us from the Evil One. We are reminded that the Devil is active and can lead us into danger – even the danger of losing our souls.

In our struggle against temptation, we need a Saviour to help us guard against the works of the Evil One.

Humanity needs a Saviour, and God has answered this need. God has looked down on humanity and its struggles and pain and confusion. He has done an extraordinary thing: God has entered humanity. God has become one of us. God has not abandoned us and left humanity to flounder in its own confusion and sin.

God has come for one purpose only – to save us. Jesus alone offers us the way to life and salvation.

My brothers and sisters, on this holy night, let us embrace Jesus as our Saviour.

Let our prayer tonight be, ‘Jesus, I need you. I cannot manage without you. Be my Saviour. Save me and raise me up.’

Tonight we joyfully declare: ‘Today a Saviour has been born to us, He is Christ the Lord.’

Archbishop Julian Porteous
Monday, 25 December 2017