for Friday, December 24, 2010
I proclaim to you good news of great joy: Christ is born for us! The
Prophet Isaiah sets the tone for our celebration tonight: The people who
walked in darkness have seen a great light. For a child is born to us, a
son is given us. For many, our Sacred Scriptures are just religious tales.
In the past century, our religious belief was called the opium of the
people. For us, the Scriptures are the Word of God leading us to
everlasting life. For us, the Scriptures spoke of the light to come into
the world and then tell us the story of that light, Jesus Christ, who was
born, suffered, died, was buried—and then rose from the dead and gave us
life and light everlasting.
Each year we celebrate the cycle of the birth, life, suffering, death and
resurrection of our Lord. Each year we hope that we can understand this
mystery more profoundly and that the mystery will in turn transform us more
completely. Tonight we gather to celebrate the birth of our Lord. This
birth is a fulfillment of the prophecies of the Jewish Scriptures. This
birth is the fulfillment of God’s promise of redemption to each of us and
to all peoples. This birth is the beginning of a new life for the world
and for us.
This transformation of the world and of us is not magic. It cannot happen
unless we cooperate with the Word of God. You and I must not only listen
to this Word and celebrate the birth of the Word, we must allow that Word
to transform us. We have walked in darkness. Our world continues to walk
in darkness. Only in following the Lord Jesus can we turn completely away
from darkness and live in the light.
How we follow the Lord Jesus or trying to decide who else follows Him is
often confusing in the world in which we live. Some of us echo His words
but not His actions. Some of us give scandal by our sinfulness. Sometimes
those who are not baptized are better witnesses to Him than we are.
Sometimes those who reject Him are truly following Him. Life in this world
is not always clear.
What is clear is that Jesus was born for us, lived for us, suffered for
us, died for us and rose for us. For those of us who have come to know Him
personally and who try to follow Him in spite of all of our defects,
Christmas brings incredible joy. It is celebrating the birthday of someone
we love. It is reflecting on the birth of the Infant Jesus, but also
seeing into the future of His life. It is recognizing Jesus in the mystery
of our Catholic Church.
Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: