The Feast of Christmas A

“God is with us.”

After long forty days’ preparation, we are here to celebrate Christmas, birthday of our lord Jesus. This began as we celebrated thanksgiving, everywhere Christmas decorations, lights and music. As Christians in the Church began with advent prayer, penance and sacrifice. This waiting and preparation picture in lighting different advent candles. Now it is complete. We were very busy doing different things, shopping, cooking, decorating and family coming together. Perhaps, it was wonderful time. This is a beautiful season. On this day, Jesus came to the earth as human beings to make us worthy of God. This is celebration of true God and true man, as our savior and redeemer, born little baby. This is the reason to rejoice.

Tonight’s vigil Mass gospel reading is long. In there, Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogy from Abraham. Though we often skip over these lists of names, the Gospel writers took great pains to compile the genealogies and to make several theological points in the process. Our Lord Jesus Christ was born of a line of ancestors whom Matthew arranges into three groups: 14 Patriarchs, 14 Kings and 14 Princes. The three groups are based on the three stages of Jewish history: i) the rise of Israel to a great kingdom by the time of David, ii) the fall of the nation by the time of Babylonian exile and iii) the resurrection of the nation after the exile. Strangely enough, the list includes a number of disreputable characters, including three women of bad reputation: Tamar, Rahab and Bathsheba. Perhaps the Lord God included these women in His Son's human genealogy to emphasize God's grace, to give us all hope and to show us that Jesus is sent to save sinners. Thus, God's powerful work of salvation comes to us under the appearance of weakness. From the beginning, Matthew's account challenges our human expectations as to how God will fulfill our hopes for endless peace, justice, and righteousness. This was done to show that Jesus is truly a man. He had family, as all humans beings he ate and drank. He also felt joys and sorrows, pains and sufferings.

 

This is wonderful to see Christians’ making cribs to prepare themselves for Christmas. In this way, it becomes vivid on the earth the coming of Jesus. It was St Francis of Assisi who assembled the first crib in a cave on an Italian hillside. It was in 1293 that the first crèche was erected in the woods of Greccio near Assisi, on Christmas Eve. The crib was ready, hay was brought, the ox and the donkey were led to the spot. Greccio became a new Bethlehem. The aim of St. Francis was to make the Christmas story come alive for the people of the locality. His idea was to show them how close it was to them and their lives. And it seems that he succeeded.  St. Chrysostom has said, “The God has become son of man, in order to make us sons and daughters of God.”

But he is also true God. In his gospel, Mathew makes it clear. Before, Mary and Joseph came, she was found with baby. Joseph was confused and thought to divorce her. But in the dream appearing the Angel Gabriel told baby is from above, through the Holy Spirit. We also hear, when Mary went to serve Elizabeth in the hill country of Juda, filled with the Holy Spirit spoke out “How does this happen that to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me.”  Even Baby John leaped with joy in the womb of the mother. At the river Jordon, we hear “You are my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” The Gospel chosen for the morning mass tells us how the word which existed from the beginning became incarnate for us and pitched his tent among us. John tells us that he is the light that shines in the darkness and takes away the darkness from within us. In all gospels, we find testimony of God. Jesus is picture of God on this earth. 

This is what we have to understand as we contemplate the scene in the Christmas Crib. That Jesus is the Son of God who adopted human form and who came into our world in order to submit himself to death by human hands. He did this so that in his resurrection he could turn everything to our advantage and so manifest his forgiveness of every human being. This is what Christmas means and it is of the utmost significance for the entire world. It is something that we celebrate and take joy in but it is also something that we know we must proclaim to all those who have not fully understood what it is really about. Our desire this Christmas is that the real significance of the feast permeates our whole lives and changes us. Our wish is that it makes us better people and turns us definitively away from sin. We also want the good effects it has on us to be transmitted to the rest of the human family.

When we continue our celebration, let us be ready to welcome him, look for him and you shall find salvation. True Salvation to the problem of the world is only in him. He only gives us ultimate meaning of life, pain and setbacks. let us read and listen to the word God, try to truly live in accordance with the teachings of Jesus, the Son of God that has come into us. Only then, we shall realize that, together, we could truly build a better world.  

A four-year-old girl went with a group of family and friends to see the Christmas lights, displayed at various locations throughout the city. At one church, they stopped and got out to look more closely at a beautiful nativity scene. “Isn’t that beautiful?” said the little girl’s grandmother. “Look at all the animals, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.”  “Yes, Grandma,” replied the granddaughter. “It is really nice. But there is only one thing that bothers me. Isn’t Baby Jesus ever going to grow up…? He’s the same size he was last year!”

 

Add Text Here...

The Feast of Christ the King

11-22-2020

“Whatever you did for one of the least

brothers of mine, you did for me.”

There is a story about a king who fell in love with a poor country girl. At first, he thought of simply bringing her to the palace and marrying her, but he realized this wouldn’t work since she would soon realize the immense difference in their backgrounds and not be happy. After much reflection, he decided to renounce his kingdom and go and live near her, so that she’d realize how deeply he loved her. Shocking one and all, he left the palace. This story reveals to us the great love of our king Jesus Christ, who ‘comes down’ that we might be raised up.  

On the last Sunday of the liturgical year the church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King. This Sunday helps us to look towards our future, our final destiny, when Jesus will return in glory for the final judgment and award to reach the reward or punishment. The Solemnity of Christ the King is a newer feast in the Catholic Church.  This feast of Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and is observed on the last Sunday of the liturgical year as it helps us to meditate on Christ the King and Lord and also on the Second and Final Coming of Christ, the Last Judgment, and the end of the world. The Pontiff was witness to a turbulent time in the world’s history. 

The First World War had just come to an end. Secularism was on the rise and dangerous dictatorships were emerging in Europe and beyond. Christ had long been referred to as King, but Pope could see the respect and reverence for Christ’s authority waning in the midst of the unrest during the early decades of the 20th century. In response, the feast was set with the intent to reaffirm and refocus faith and respect in the kingship of Jesus. Pope Pius XI felt that nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state.

 Secondly that leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ.

  Finally, that the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies.

Today’s Readings revolve around the final judgment of Jesus Christ when He comes in glory and power. The gospel reading, we heard speaks about the last judgement. Jesus, the son of man will come in great glory and sit on the throne to judge the living and the dead. The basis of judgement would be according to their faith life on this earth. Those who lived their faith worthily, God would reward them heavenly peace, but those who didn’t damned to darkness, the hell.

In the second reading, St. Paul reminds the Christians at Corinth of the fact of the resurrection from the dead, just as Jesus Christ died and rose to life. He tells us that Christ was raised from the dead as the first fruits of those who have died. One day, all those who have walked their living faith in Christ will resurrect from the dead to receive their salvation and to be glorified in Christ. Those who belong to Christ will form part of His kingdom. 

We need to surrender our lives to Christ’s rule, since Christ, our King, lives in our hearts with the Holy Spirit and His Heavenly Father and fills our souls with His grace, we need to learn to live in His Holy Presence, doing His will by sharing His forgiving love with others around us. We need to be constantly aware of His Presence in the Bible, in the Sacraments and in the worshipping community.