notre dame montreal


Christmas Eve Sermon

Sermon for Christmas Eve 2013

The Reverend Canon Charles Royden

The cardboard people

Christmas Eve 2013

Pope Francis has given a Christmas message in which he spoke of the 'cartoneros' or carboard people. These are people he knew from when he was in Buenos Aires when he was archbishop. But these people are everywhere, people on the margins of society who live frugally from the waste which others throw away. The World Bank has estimated that 2% of the global population live like this, cardboard people.

The message from the Pope is about a disposal society, we throw things away. We are all consumers, but sometimes we do not consume wisely, often we consume too much and often we do consume things which have been produced in a way which brings damage to the earth

The worst thing is that sometimes the choices which we make as a society damages people. There are people who are victims, who are treated as if they too can be thrown away and discarded. These people who are thrown away, treated as if they are of no consequence, they are the cartoneros, the cardboard people.

The message of Christmas speaks profoundly as we see those invited to the first nativity who were very extraordinary people.

The shepherds were not ordinary, shepherds were poor, outsiders.
The Magi were not ordinary people, they were foreigners in a strange land
Even Joseph and Mary were poor people from Nazareth, Nathanael said 'nothing good came out of Nazareth'.

The nativity scene this year at the vatican has a beggar as the one closest to Jesus. It is trying to emphasise that Jesus is disposed towards those who have little. By word and deed Jesus life was dedicated towards those who were most vulnerable in society

So what do we take from this, we who are among the richest in the world ?

We must refuse to believe that God has ordained the conditions in which people find themselves. Things are not the way they are because God would have it so ! Please think carefully about this. Just because this is the way things are doesn't mean that this is the way they should remain, or that God is content with the status quo or has somehow ordained it ! God does not want people to be sick, or poor, or hungry.

The poor are not poor because God wants them to be poor, the cartneros are victims of the world economies which value profit before people. Likewise the sick are not sick because God wants them to be sick. Those who suffered and those who died caused the heart of Jesus to break and he dedicated his ministry to helping them to show that God did not will it to be so. In God's economy nobody is thrown away, nobody treated as though they were of no consequence. There are no cardboard people.

It is because God cares, that we too must care, do all we can to show his love which was so directed towards those who in need.