- Luke 2:1-14;
- John 1:1-5. 9-14 (Shorter Form);
- Hebrews 1:1-6
Theme: PEACE OF SALVATION (SHALOM) TO ALL WHO ARE FAVORED, GRACED AND BLESSED BY GOD
1. A Merry, Happy and Blessed Christmas to all of you! We have two different Masses with two different Gospels for Christmas! We shall look at the two different Gospels for our Christmas Masses! The Gospel tonight from St. Luke tells us that Jesus Christ is descended from David through Joseph, thus fulfilling the promise made to David about the Messiah! But more than that, the gospel tells us that Caesar Augustus (Emperor of the Roman Empire) with all his political, economic and military power, is not the Savior, God, or Bringer of Peace. Jesus Christ is the Savior, God, and Bringer of Peace! Thus the angel tells the shepherds: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”! (Lk 2:11; SM)
The gospel tells us that when Jesus Christ was born he was wrapped in swaddling clothes/cloths (HCSB; GNB) and laid in a manger and he was revealed to shepherds! That is, God has become man (wrapped in swaddling clothes/cloths; Wis 7:4-6), God has become food for men (manger: a feedbox for animals), and God has become food for sinful men (shepherds)! (NJBC)
People of other religions find it impossible to believe that God can become man, that God can “die”, that God can become food for men, and that God can become food for sinful men! But we believe that God is not law, justice, punishment and damnation, but God is love, mercy, forgiveness and salvation!
Thus the gospel ends by telling us that the angels give praise to God by singing: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favor.”! (Lk 2:14; SM) That is: Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace of salvation (shalom) to all who are favored, graced and blessed by Him!
Salvation is a free gift from God! It is a Christmas present from God! This is the good news of Christmas!
Theme: GOD REVEALS HIMSELF FULLY, COMPLETELY AND PERFECTLY IN JESUS CHRIST
2. Christmas, Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord are all about the revelation of God in Jesus Christ! Christmas season begins with Christmas Day and ends with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The gospel (Jn 1:1-5. 9-14) and the second reading (Heb 1:1-6) for the Christmas Mass during the Day tell us that God reveals himself in creation, in other religions, and above all in Jesus Christ!
God reveals himself in creation! Everything was created through him and for him! Nothing was created without him! Everything is sustained by him! St. Paul tells us in “Romans 1:20” that there is no excuse not to believe in God, because when we see creation we see the Creator!
We have therefore to care for creation, and to protect the environment! We must not cut down the trees, pollute the rivers and the seas, destroy other species, etc. We must plant trees, clean the rivers and the seas, protect other species, etc.
The apex of creation is ourselves! We have therefore to take care of our own bodies and our own health. We have to take exercise at least an hour a day and at least three days a week; to eat less than we need and want, that is, to eat only 80% of what we need and want; to avoid the three Ss, that is, salt, sugar and smoking; to drink alcohol moderately if we must, that is, one to two drinks a day for men; to have at least six hours of sleep every day; to drink at least eight glasses of water everyday; to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables everyday, etc.
The gospel and the second reading also tell us that God reveals himself in other religions, particularly in Judaism and by analogy in other religions! We have therefore to dialogue with other religions; to tolerate, respect and understand other religions; to work together with other religions to save the environment, to protect the family, to prevent abortions, to promote justice and peace, to overcome secularism, etc.
Finally, the gospel and the second reading tell us that in the fullness of time, God revealed himself fully, completely and perfectly in his Son Jesus Christ, “the perfect copy of his nature” (Heb 1:3), “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14), that is, full of love and faithfulness! (NJB) Even when we do not love him he still loves us, even when we are not faithful to him he is still faithful to us! We have therefore to proclaim the good news of Christmas to the whole world so that all may believe and be saved!
3. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us protect the environment, dialogue with other religions, and above all to proclaim the Good News of Christmas to the whole world so that all may believe and be saved! Again, a Merry, Happy and Blessed Christmas to all of you!