By Sarah Mac Donald - 25 December, 2019
Racism and discrimination are words that have no space in the language of God, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said in his Christmas Day homily.
At Christmas Mass in St Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin, attended by President Michael D. Higgins, Dr Martin warned that, “Racism is always the language of hate and detestation. There is no such thing as mild racism. Racism is a dangerous explosive you do not play around with.”
He said God created humankind as a family, each individual uniquely called and loved by God. “Respect for each person, at any stage in life, is again part of the language of God.”
Referring to the readings of Christmas morning, he said they remind us that God has spoken to us in many ways throughout history.
“God’s first communication with us is through his creation and its beauty and integrity. God made everything and saw in each individual element of his creation a unique goodness. Care for creation and respect for its integrity also form part of the language of God.”
Posing the question of how Christians can speak of God in a world that so often rejects him or does not know where to turn to find him, the Archbishop said, “As Christians and as a Church we must speak more about God. It is not enough to say that we are somehow blocked from speaking.”
He added that, “too often we speak about God in the wrong language, in a language that is not God’s. To speak effectively about God, we have to learn to speak about God in the language of God himself.”
The Archbishop stressed that the language of God is not the language of discussing the poor and discussing those on the periphery of society.
“The language of God is about being poor and being detached from a longing for power or possession. It is the language of being with and doing things with the poor and marginalised. The language of God is not ecclesiastical gossip. We can only grasp who our God is and what the Church should be like when we look through the prism of the language of God.”
Elsewhere in his homily, he said the language of God is found in the message of Christmas.
“God speaks to us, he tells us who he is, in the way Jesus is born and he speaks to us in a language that is unexpected. The God of power and might appears in the presence of a helpless child, a helpless child without any of the supports of the power and wealth and celebrity that we might have thought the place where God would appear, or the type of place we at times make our Church be.”
“We think in that way because we think in categories that are not those of God. The language of God is the language of simplicity of heart.”
Referring to the annual appeal to put God back into Christmas, Archbishop Martin said, “The mystery is that God is never far from our celebration of Christmas, even if in a veiled way. God is present in the mystery we celebrate, even in a world and in a culture where God is too often left on the margins of our lives and of our society.”
“Yes, in our society, no matter how commercialised it is, Christmas touches something deeper within us. Why is that? What makes Christmas special? Christmas is special because Christmas is about God. The child that is born is Our Lord and Saviour.”
“Christmas is a moment when our faith emerges, even if we have drifted away from regular practice of that faith. At Christmas the faith of our childhood becomes re-energised and evokes something that always remains buried deep in our hearts.”
“There is something special about Christmas and the Christmas message.”