Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

Cardinal Vincent Urges All to 'Open Our Eyes to the Vulnerable'

In an interview with Clare Balding on BBC2's Good Morning Christmas on Christmas Day said that he chose to focus on the vulnerable in his homily. He explained that his inspiration came from looking at the Crib, at the vulnerability of the Infant Jesus who 'depended on animals to keep him warm'.

The Cardinal spoke about the vulnerable all around the world: those who have been driven from their homes in Syria and Iraq, those who struggle with the Ebola outbreak, and all those closer to home such as the poor, the homeless and those who are trafficked.

Cardinal Vincent expressed his sorrow at the loss of life and injuries that resulted from the lorry crash. He acknowledged that Christmas can be a very difficult time. 'Christmas is not a day for escapism' he said, 'It's a day when God chooses to be with us and open our eyes to His horizons.' 

'Christmas invites us always to see the person, to see the people. Don't see the geopolitical obstruction. Let us see the individual: a child sitting on a bed in a ruined house, or a line of washing strung between two pillars which are all that remain in a house. This is the 21st century; yet, here we are talking about a life that's reduced to the bare minimum.'

Asked about New Year's resolutions, the Cardinal said, 'I always advise people to be ralistic. To choose a resolution that is going to make a difference to more than just how I'm going to feel about myself, but the contribution I make to others.' He went on to say, 'It's together that we can build this better world.' 

He spoke about 2014 and his personal highlight as the work undertaken between the Church and police forces around the world as 'a real step forward' to help those victims who are caught in a terrible web.

Cardinal Vincent concluded his appearance by delivering the following message to listeners:

'As we mark the birth of Jesus in the stable in Bethlehem we see how vulnerable he is, depending on the animals for warmth and those around him for care and protection. We see that he, who is God in our flesh, has come not in grandeur but to embrace our weaknesses and failings. He teaches us not to be afraid. He opens his arms to embrace us, coming into our hearts as an unfailing friend, bringing us comfort and strength.

'Many in our world today are vulnerable and suffering. The music of their Christmas carols will be accompanied by tears and sighs. But that is OK. Christmas is not a day of escapism, pretence or make-believe.

'No, it is a day of love and of indescribable consolation for the grace of God has come to us.  No longer need we feel the confusion and uncertainty that so often touch our hearts.

'He is the Light of the World, the Light in our darkness, and today we welcome him afresh. A very happy Christmas everyone.'

The BBC2 broadcast can be heard here.

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