December 25, 2013 - Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord
Christmas, Year A
Christmas, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Pope Francis says that the great dangers in today’s world are:
Consumerism, the need for more and more stuff,
Complacency, not caring about the things that are most important,
Covetous hearts, wanting others and what others have,
And the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures.
When our inner life becomes caught up in our own selfish interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others.
God’s voice is no longer heard.
The joy of God’s love is no longer felt.
And the desire to do good fades.
As a result, we end up resentful, angry and listless.
Holy Father reminds us that this resentful, angry, listless life is not God’s will for us.
And he invites us, at this very moment, to have a personal encounter with Jesus, with the tenderness of a little child.
The love of the infant in the manger makes it possible for us to lift our heads and start anew.
Pope Benedict says:
Being a Christian is an encounter with an event.
Today that event is Christmas.
Being a Christian is an encounter with a person.
Today that person is Jesus.
This encounter with God’s love can blossom into an enriching friendship.
This friendship pulls us up out of our selfishness and self-absorption, so that we can become more fully human, more fully alive, more filled with Christmas joy.
Sing for joy, O heavens and exult O earth! Break forth into song!
For on this Holy Night/Morn, God has come to his people as set them free.
In the Incarnation, God takes the initiative. God acts first.
God loves first. God sends his only Son to us.
And this Only Son, Jesus, asks everything of us.
But at the same time, this Only Son, Jesus, offers everything to us.
We are infinitely loved.
As so, we come here on this Holy Night/Morn to feel that love again, to feel that joy again.
It is not only for us, because we are called to bring that love and that joy to others.
In this way goodness spreads. It takes root and it grows.
It is easy for us to assume that this sharing of our love with others has to be big and dramatic.
But very few of us are called to love in the way that Pope Francis does or in the way that Blessed Teresa of Calcutta did.
Rather, our sharing of love and joy most often takes place in the hidden mangers and unnoticed Bethlehems of this world.
Meals prepared for a sick neighbor.
A smile instead of a hard word shared with some poor cashier who stands there checking out customer after customer.
A refusal to participate in the gossip that is all around us.
Doing that little something extra for a spouse or a child or a parent or a friend without being asked and without expecting anything in return.
Every day, we are given one opportunity after another to share the love and joy of the infant Jesus with this world.
This sharing enables others to have their own encounter with Jesus.
The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter the Lord.
On this Christmas Night/Morn, we kneel before the Nativity, we kneel before the Altar of God and pray:
“Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more. I need you.
“Save me once again, Lord. Take me once more into your loving embrace.”
With a tenderness that never disappoints, the infant Jesus lying in the manger makes it possible for us to lift our heads and start anew.