Saturday, December 24, 2011

Before Their Eyes

December 25, 2011

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

Mass during the Day

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, "Your God is King!" Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the LORD restoring Zion.
Isaiah 52:7-8

In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways
to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word.
Hebrews 1:1-3b

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:1-5


The creation of God is wonderfully begun and still more wonderfully restored. Christmas opens for us the plan of God for our salvation. Piety is how we share in the divinity of Christ. He humbled himself to share in our humanity and we take upon ourselves power and glory when we share in the essence of Christ. Christ has given us his life by our baptism. He takes us more deeply into his life by Eucharist. We see his littleness as the baby born into our world of grandiose things and enjoy his littleness when we marvel at his birth. The baby needs the parents' care. Christ’s life within us needs our loving care. He does not force himself on us with wise words and powerful signs. What could be more normal than a baby born into our world? What could be more wonderful than the marvel of each birth calling us to the presence of Christ? Christmas forces us to take ourselves seriously as images of God in the Christ we are born to be. Christian means another Christ. Christmas means Christ is with us.


We study how Christ made himself small so we could see ourselves in him. All the ways we look at the birth of Christ gives us appreciation of how much Christ wants to be one with us. Our willingness to become what we study opens our hearts to the reality of what it means to be created in the image and likeness of Christ. God has spoken in our lives in many wondrous ways. But no voice is louder than the voice of the Word of God becoming flesh in the baby of Bethlehem. I live the mystery of Bethlehem every time I celebrate Mass because the littleness of the host becomes the baby born in the cave. As I hold the host of the Lord, who is the same forever during my Mass at the cave where he was born, I realize I am holding the baby of Bethlehem. We study how to worship him on the holy day that is dawning upon us. We come to adore the Lord in his littleness so that we can find him in his greatness. Christ is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. When we hold unto the Christ of today, we have the Christ of every day.


The question of what we can do for the Lord who has given us so much in the birth of Jesus has the simplest of all answers. I will give the Lord myself. How I have grown in offering him my life is seen by our presence to the little ones of our lives? Even as we do our part to make the day special for children, we discover how to love him. The light of Christ shines in the darkness of our world. We need to enlighten all our family with the joy we take in Christ.