Theme: JESUS CHRIST IS GOD, SAVIOR AND BRINGER OF PEACE
- Isaiah 9:1-7;
- Psalm 95 (96): 1-3. 11-13. R/ Lk 2:11;
- Titus 2:11-14
- Luke 2:1-14
A happy and joyful Christmas to all of you! The readings today tell us why we are happy and joyful about Christmas!
The gospel today tells us that Jesus Christ is God, Savior and bringer of peace! The gospel tells us that Caesar Augustus with all his political, economic and military powers is not god, savior and bringer of peace! The Roman Empire believed that Caesar Augustus was god, savior and bringer of peace! That is why the gospel today began with Caesar Augustus.
The gospel also tells us that the promise God made to David about the Messiah is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The promise was fulfilled not because David and his descendents, that is, the kings of Israel, were faithful, but because God was faithful!
Indeed, the gospel tells us that God has become man, God has become food for man, and God has become food for sinful man! A professor in one of our local colleges said that he cannot believe that God can become man, that God can die, and that God can die for sinful man! He believes in a God of law, justice, punishment and damnation, but we believe in a God of love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!
Indeed, the symbolic details of today’s gospel tell us that God became man, God became food for man, and God became food for sinful man! The sign the angel gave to the shepherds was “a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12; SM). “A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes” symbolizes that God has become man, and “lying in a manger” symbolizes that God has become food for man! The shepherds symbolize sinful man! (CSB; NJBC)
That is why the angels sang glory to God saying, ‘peace, shalom, salvation to men who enjoy his favor, blessing, grace’! Salvation is a total free gift from God! That is why the angel told the shepherds, ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared with all the people, today a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord’!
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the “Prince of Peace”! (CSB; NJBC) Again, peace, shalom, salvation! Again, be happy, be joyful, and rejoice! Thus we read in the first reading:
“You have made their gladness greater, you have made their joy increase; they rejoice in your presence as men rejoice at harvest time, as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.” (Is 9:3; SM)
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us to rejoice and to be happy because of our Savior Jesus Christ! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“Today a savior has been born to us; he is Christ the Lord.” (Lk 2:11; SM)
And thus the third stanza of the responsorial psalm:
“Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad, let the sea and all within it thunder praise, let the land and all it bears rejoice, all the trees of the wood shout for joy at the presence of the Lord for he comes, he comes to rule the earth.” (Ps 95 (96): 11-13; SM)
Note that not only human beings rejoice, but the whole of creation rejoices, because the peace that Jesus Christ brings is also a peace with the whole of creation! Remember the message of Pope John Paul II for World Day of Peace, 1 January 1990: “Peace with God the Creator, Peace with all of Creation”!
The second reading also follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading also tells us that salvation is a grace from God! But more than that, the second reading tells us to respond to the grace of salvation by avoiding evil, by avoiding worldliness, and by living good lives and doing good works until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when all will be saved!
Again, a happy and joyful Christmas to all of you! Amen!