Earlier this Christmas Eve I received a text from a friend – a classmate – saying that he wasn’t sending Christmas Cards this year but wanted to wish me peace and blessings at this special time. I called him back and asked if he was getting mean in his old age. I continued to slag him for a little while and then he said, “you mustn’t have heard that my mother died”. I hadn’t. He went on to say she died the beginning of December. I felt more sorry than embarrassed because I knew he wasn’t trying to embarrass me. He told me his mother had been diagnosed with cancer and died shortly after the diagnosis was given. Needless to say, I was sorry for him.
I told him I’d not heard and of course he knew that because, had I heard, I’d have been there for him over those December days. The reality was the news never reached my ears and I was sorry about that too.
As I prepared for Christmas Eve Mass I thought about Ray, his mother Rosie and how easy it is not to hear news. Gossip is all around us and seems to blow easily on the wind – easily and dangerously – but often the news we need to hear passes by unheard or untold. I wondered does God feel that way sometimes, not least around Christmas and wonder how it is that this Story, this very Sacred story, can remain unheard and untold?
That’s the thought I brought to Mass with me just now and shared with a very full church. I was so happy to see so many people there and wanted them to hear the NEWS that Christ is born but not to remain a baby. He needs to become a Man alongside us and we need to hear his news, some not always easy to hear or understand but news nonetheless that calls us to be better people – decent people.
It’s the choice of this Season in many ways. To hear and be shaped by the news or to settle for gossip. I know which we’re called to and I know how easily we can ignore or park that call. I felt the church tonight was filled with people who want to hear the story and came, in many ways, in response to it but how quickly we can forget and go back to our old ways. We need to be people of the Good News, tuned in to what is real and important in life, otherwise we miss opportunities to be better people, to be with people when they most need us.
Share the news. Avoid the gossip ….
Happy Christmas and thanks, thanks for being my friends. I’m sorry if I missed any important events in your lives and wasn’t there … keep in touch, keep in focus, keep the News, the GOOD news in circulation, even when it might be difficult to hear, understand or accept. If we need to hear it, let it be heard.