Many people remain unaware today of the basic facts of the life of Jesus Christ, Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham said on Sunday, adding that the story “needs and deserves to be retold”.
He was speaking at the annual Civic Mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral and Basilica of St Chad, Birmingham, on the Solemnity of Christ the King.
Jesus was born for a ministry of service, he said. “From the very beginning of his life his own experience prepared our Lord for the mission entrusted to him by his heavenly Father: the longing of the Virgin Mary for the birth of this child, the hardships of his birth in a stable, the experience of being a refugee from political aggression, and the influence of those who longed to see him – the shepherds of Bethlehem and the wise men from the East.
“The story of the Nativity of Christ, celebrated at Christmas, helps us to understand his concern for those who suffer through oppression, neglect or poverty of any kind. It is a challenge that many people remain unaware today of the basic facts of the life of Jesus Christ – this is a story that needs and deserves to be re-told. For that reason I am immensely grateful that the City Art Gallery and Museum has reinstated this year the Nativity Trail retelling the story of Jesus’s birth through beautiful and evocative works of art that have the power to touch and move us,” the archbishop said.
Archbishop Longley stressed the importance of ecumenism. “Gathering here at St Chad’s we are united in prayer with our Christian neighbours at nearby St Philip’s Anglican Cathedral and we look forward to being with them during their 300th Anniversary celebrations in 2015,” he said.
Birmingham faith leaders were preparing to sign a Covenant, “a joint commitment between our faith communities and the local authority to a set of principles that will guide our engagement together, aiming to remove the mistrust that can sometimes exist and promoting practical co-operation for the common good”, he said.