Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Mass at Day 2013: Encounter with the Word Incarnate


In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. With the shepherds, our eyes behold a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. This baby is the Word of God who was made flesh. We look at the baby and we realize that through him, God is engaging in a conversation with us. “In times past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets…now, he speaks to us through his Son.” He speaks to us through his Son. “Christ is the ‘eternal Gospel’ (Rev 14:6); he ‘is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Heb 13:8), yet his riches and beauty are inexhaustible. He is forever young and a constant source of newness. The Church never fails to be amazed at ‘the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God’ (Rom 11:33).” (Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 11.) We look at the baby Jesus and in him is found that depth of Divine riches, wisdom and knowledge. Year after year, we celebrate Christmas. Year after year, we look at the baby in the manger and yet, we are always amazed at what we see. There is always something new to discover about him. His riches and beauty are inexhaustible. He is forever young. Forever he is a source of newness.

At Christmas, as always, we encounter Jesus made flesh in the Eucharist. But we also encounter him made flesh in his word. Jesus is the Word of the Father. He engages us in a unique and personal conversation…a transformative conversation. In Jesus his Son, he tells us that he loves us. In the Baby Jesus, he begs to be loved by us. This conversation of love is an invitation to communion with him – for isn’t every conversation meant to promote understanding, acceptance, and communion? And we must be willing to be surprised at what the Word is able to do in our lives. The Word that comes from the Father’s mouth is so powerful. This is the Word through whom all things were made. In this Word, all things continue to exist. “God’s word is unpredictable in its power. The Gospel speaks of a seed which, once sown, grows by itself, even as the farmer sleeps (Mk 4:26-29). The Church has to accept this unruly freedom of the word, which accomplishes what it wills in ways that surpass our calculations and ways of thinking.” (EG, 22.) But wherever the Word takes us…it will definitely take us out of our loneliness, fears, and sin. He will definitely bring us joy. “In Christ, joy is born anew.”

The Word does not only bring us to communion. Our communion with him transforms us into missionaries. “The Church’s closeness to Jesus is part of a common journey; ‘communion and mission are profoundly interconnected’. In fidelity to the example of the Master, it is vitally important for the Church today to go forth and preach the Gospel to all: to all places, on all occasions, without hesitation, reluctance or fear. The joy of the Gospel is for all people: no one can be excluded. That is what the angel proclaimed to the shepherds in Bethlehem: ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people’ (Lk 2:10). The Book of Revelation speaks of ‘an eternal Gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tongue and tribe and people (Rev 14:6).’ [EG, 23.] Therefore, like the shepherds who proclaimed to all what they have heard and seen, let us go forth and proclaim Christ, the Eternal Gospel. Go tell it on the mountain, over the hill and everywhere. Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet  of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, saying to Zion: “Your God is King.”

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

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