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!”

 

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25th Sunday of the Ordinary Time A

09-20-2020

“Are you envious because I am generous?” 

There was a guy who died and was being given a tour of heaven, and he saw a friend of his drive by in a beautiful Mercedes. He said, “Boy, this is great! “Oh, yes,” St. Peter said, “your friend was really generous on earth; we had a lot to work with. Your transportation up here depends on your generosity down there.” Then St. Peter gave him his transportation: a Honda motor scooter. He said, “Wait a minute, he gets a Mercedes, and I get a scooter? “That’s right, it’s all we had to work with.” So, the guy drove off in a huff. A week later Peter saw this guy all smiles and said, “You are feeling better now?” The guy said, “Yea, I have ever since I saw my preacher go by on a skateboard! “A life of generosity reflects God’s nature in a special way. Surely, God is just; but He is also outrageously generous and merciful at the same time. We do not get what we deserve. Rather God gives us more than we deserve. Today’s liturgy of the word gives us an opportunity to reflect upon the generosity of God upon us in his mercy and forgiveness. Jesus Christ says, “And this the will of him who sent me that I should not loose anyone of them, he has entrusted to me, but raise them on the last day.” In the psalm we find “The Lord is good to all. Compassionate to every creature.”

Today’s gospel presents to us an extravagant generosity of God through a beautiful the kingdom of heaven parable though it may sound a bit strange. Jesus tells a land owner hired workers at different hours of the day but at the time payment all workers paid equally. Those who toiled whole, took the heat of the day began to murmur. Then the Landowner said, “Are you sinner envious because I am generous.” This parable may remind us the parable of the prodigal son. How the eldest son was at the welcome party thrown by loving daddy for lost son. The generosity of God is beyond our imagination. This is because we live in democracy, work for social justice. There are labor union fighting for fair wage, In the first reading the Lord says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways are my ways.”

The second reading is taken from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians. In this passage we could find the experience of St. Paul’s the extravagant generosity of God’s grace upon him. Though he was sinner, he was called by God to be the apostle. His total self was for the praise and glory of God. With great commitment and dedication preached the good news. St. Paul says, “For to me life is Christ and death is gain.” He wanted to live his life bearing good fruits. 

 We need to follow God’s example and show loving generosity to our neighbor.  When someone else is more successful than we are, let us assume that person needs it.  When someone who does wrong fails to get caught, let us remember the many times we have done wrong and gotten off free. Envy should have no place in our lives.  We cannot control, and dare not pass judgment on, the way God blesses others, only rejoice that He does so, just as He blesses us.