Cardinal Vincent celebrated Midnight Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Christmas Eve.
In his homily, the Cardinal spoke of the radical kingship of Jesus and His rule of love. He said, 'The rule of love is promulgated through vulnerability!'
He went on to point to this Kingdom which is 'an affront to the power-regimes of our world'.
The Cardinal spoke about this 'lesson of love' which bids us to 'open our eyes and our hearts to the vulnerable around us. Then, gradually our eyes no longer focus on the great and powerful, but on the poor and lowly'.
Speaking of the outstretched arms of the Infant Jesus, he continued, 'He teaches us compassion; compassion for those caught in the living death of human slavery; compassion for the hungry, depending on hand-outs, both here and abroad; compassion for those forced out of their homes, whether in Iraq, Syria, the Sudan or the countless other places from which come the millions of displaced persons and refugees in the world today.'
The Cardinal then spoke of the witness of countless Christians who work tirelessly to serve others and the reason they do this: 'The compassion of Christ is for everyone. His law of love is universal.'
This lesson of love is learned first in the family. 'There, love holds us together, love opens our eyes, love summons us to sacrifice,' he said.
The family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is 'the finest teacher' of this lesson. That is why the Cardinal invites all to 'come to the crib'. He concluded, 'Come to find a family – the family of the Lord, summoned afresh this night, always to be a family of love, in the power of the Holy Spirit.'
The full text of the Cardinal's homily can be found here.
The BBC4 broadcast of the Midnight Mass can be heard here.
Photo: Martin Beek