Theme: GOD HAS BECOME MAN, GOD HAS BECOME FOOD FOR MAN, GOD HAS BECOME FOOD FOR SINFUL MAN
- Titus 2:11-14 / Hebrews 1:1-6
- Luke 2:1-14 / John 1:1-5. 9-14 (Shorter Form)
A Merry, Happy and Blessed Christmas to all of you! After Easter, Christmas is the most ancient feast day of the Church! We may say that after Easter, Christmas is the most important feast day of the Church! That is why the gospel tonight has something important to tell us! The gospel tonight tells us that God has become man, God has become food for man, and God has become food for sinful man! So that sinful man may live and not die!
The gospel tonight tells us that the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and announced to them the news of great joy that a Savior has been born to them and he is Christ the Lord! And the angel gave them this sign, that is, a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, that is, God has become man (Wrapped in swaddling clothes), God has become food for man (The manger is the place where the animals feed) and God has become food for sinful man! (The shepherds are dirty and poor and they are thieves. They are a despised trade like the prostitutes and tax-collectors) Note the importance of the sign. It is mentioned twice in tonight’s gospel and mentioned a third time in tomorrow’s gospel at the Christmas Mass at Dawn!
The gospel also tells us that suddenly an army of heavenly angels appeared with the angel and they praised God singing:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favor”. (Lk 2:14; Sunday Missal (SM))
That is, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace, shalom, salvation to men who enjoy his favor, his blessing, his grace!
It is also important to note that Saint Luke began his gospel tonight with Caesar Augustus, not only to tell us that he ordered the census, so that Joseph had to go back to Bethlehem with Mary to register there and that Jesus is a descendent of David; but also to tell us that Caesar Augustus is not God. He is not Savior and Bringer of Peace, though he had political, economic and military power and the Romans worshiped him as God, Savior and Bringer of Peace! Saint Luke wants to tell us that Jesus Christ is God, Savior and Bringer of Peace, Shalom, Salvation! And he does this by his favor, blessing and grace!
2. The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that God’s grace has been revealed and has made salvation possible and has taught us that we must give up everything that does not lead us to God. We are to give up all our worldly ambitions. And we are to be self-restrained and live good and holy lives. In short, we are to do good until the second coming of Jesus Christ when we will be blessed!
More importantly, the second reading tells us that through his sacrifice, that is, through his death and resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit he has given us the strength to do good until his second coming!
Theme: GOD REVEALS HIMSELF IN CREATION, GOD REVEALS HIMSELF IN OTHER RELIGIONS AND GOD REVEALS HIMSELF FULLY, COMPLETELY AND PERFECTLY IN JESUS CHRIST
3. Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord is all about revelation! That is why Christmas season begins today at Christmas and ends with the Baptism of the Lord. The gospel and the second reading for the Mass during the Day, that is, the Mass for Christmas Day tell us that God reveals himself in creation! That is why we have to protect the environment! God created us in his image to be the co-creators and stewards of his creation! God alone is the Master and Lord of creation!
Human beings are the apex, highpoint and peak of creation! That is why besides protecting the environment we have also to dialogue with philosophy, science and culture! That is why our priests spend two years studying philosophy and three years studying theology and that is why our Church continues to dialogue with science and culture!
The gospel and second reading for the “Mass During the Day” also tell us that God reveals himself in other religions, particularly in Judaism! That is why we have to dialogue with other religions, particularly with Islam!
But most importantly, the gospel and the second reading for Christmas Day Mass tell us that God reveals himself fully, completely and perfectly in his Son Jesus Christ! That is why we have to proclaim the good news so that all may believe and so that all may be saved! Thus the gospel concludes:
“The Word was made flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth”. (Jn 1: 14; SM)
“Full of grace and truth”, that is, full of love and faithfulness! God loves us even when we do not love him and God is faithful to us even when we are not faithful to him! God saved us by his faithful love in his Son Jesus Christ!
Again, a Merry, Happy and Blessed Christmas to all of you! Amen!