BBC Radio 2 - Pause for Thought
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor
It is rather strange – and somewhat sad – to be sitting opposite Terry Wogan for the last time, on this programme anyway, and I’ll come back to that in a moment. But we are now on a journey to Christmas Day. I want to say a word about the gifts that Jesus Christ brought into the world two thousand years ago. The first gift that he gives to us is the knowledge of who we are and our worth as individuals. It’s nice at Christmas to receive cards from people who perhaps we have not seen for maybe a year, but they remember us. We are individuals to them and they to us. Like a child who comes up to you and says, ‘I’m Peter’, or ‘I’m Sarah’, as if to say, ‘Look at me. I’m different. There is no one like me’. Like Christ, who in the darkness of the first Christmas night, came to us with a name, ‘Emmanuel’, which means ‘God-with-us’. And he came in a particular place - Bethlehem. I think all of us, each one of us, each one of you, want to be special and to be acknowledged as special and to know who you are. You want to be of value in your own eyes and in the eyes of others. But at the same time, you are not alone, you are part of a family, part of a community, and you can’t live without being supported and sustained by the communities which form part of your life. Christ, after all, came not only for each one of us individually, but also to help us transform humanity into a community where we would be free to be human and to be at home. I sincerely hope that all of you listening this morning will have a Christmas which will help you to understand how much we need each other, how important family is and appreciate even more, in spite of difficulties and challenges, the gifts which we receive from God.
This is an opportunity for me to thank you, Terry, for everything you have done for this programme over so many years. Everyone will miss you, Terry, but I found since I retired seven months ago that I seem to be busier than ever, so I am quite sure we have not seen the end of you. I’m flying this afternoon to Rome to attend a meeting and if I happen to see Pope Benedict I will tell him that his mornings are to be different because there will be no Terry Wogan to listen to. But I’ll also tell him, if I see him, that he will be popping up elsewhere even if it is not the European Song Contest! (I have this little gift for you, Terry, since I know you play golf). On behalf of all of us, Terry, thank you very much. God bless you and a happy Christmas to you, Terry, and to all your listeners.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Terry Wogan in the BBC studios