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CHRISTMAS 2016: God offers Himself to us through the birth of Jesus, says Archbishop Costelloe


St Mary’s Cathedral Assistant Priest Father Conor Steadman and Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe cradle a doll representing the Infant Jesus during Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Photo: Ron Tan

By Rachel Curry

The choice of our mighty creator to appear to us as a vulnerable baby reveals God’s loving nature, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe has told thousands of worshippers who recently attended Christmas Masses at St Mary’s Cathedral.

Speaking during his homily at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, the Archbishop explained that the arrival of the Infant Jesus into the world was a birth like no other.

“And this is true not just because of the extraordinary events which the Gospels record around the birth of this child – the songs of angels, the appearance of a star, the journeying of wise men from distant lands, and of course the unheard of accounts of a virginal conception, strange dreams, and other mysterious happenings,” he said.

“Beyond all this, strange and mysterious though it all is, the birth of the child in Bethlehem tells of something even stranger: the appearance of the mighty creator God, without whom nothing can exist, now coming among us as a fragile, helpless, vulnerable baby.”


Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral Monsignor Michael Keating reads to young worshippers during the Children’s Mass on Christmas Eve. Photo: Ron Tan

There are many ways to understand the significance of the birth of Jesus, Archbishop Costelloe continued.

Jesus is known as the Messiah, our Saviour, and the Son of God; to some a great prophet and to others a social reformer.

However, the Archbishop said that for him, Jesus is “the face of the one true God”.

“And what does God show us in Jesus? One way to answer that question, at least in part, is to spend time, either literally tonight in the cathedral or more generally within our own minds and hearts, gazing carefully and thoughtfully upon the scene in the stable at Bethlehem where God lies in a manger helpless, vulnerable, unprotected apart from his mother and Joseph, totally available to us,” he said.


Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral Monsignor Michael Keating pictured with Ralph and Luanne Alegre and their son Liam Antonio, who was the Infant Jesus during the Children’s Mass. Photo: Ron Tan

“This is the challenge of Christmas. Dare I believe that God, to whom I owe all that I am and all that I have, has chosen to become weak among the strong, helpless among the powerful, simple among the sophisticated, and needy among the self-sufficient, in order to help me understand where true greatness, genuine humanity, and the fullness of life are really to be found?”

Earlier in the evening, Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral Monsignor Michael Keating celebrated the Children’s Mass in front of a packed – and youthful – congregation.

During his homily, Monsignor Keating told the children in attendance a collection of stories about their responsibility to care for one another, particularly for other young people who need extra help.

Children were very involved in the Mass from start to finish, including helping Monsignor Keating place the Infant Jesus doll in the manger and gathering around the altar during the consecration and blessing.