25Dec The Nativity of the Lord

1st Reading: Isaiah 52:7-10

The joy of the watchmen, at seeing the Lord’s messenger

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news, who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the Lord to Zion.

Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the Lord has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.

The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

Responsorial Psalm 97: 1-6

R./: All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.

Sing a new song to the Lord
for he has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm
have brought salvation. (R./)

The Lord has made known his salvation;
has shown his justice to the nations.
He has remembered his truth and love
for the house of Israel. (R./)

All the ends of the earth
have seen the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord all the earth,
ring out your joy. (R./)

Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp,
with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
acclaim the King, the Lord. (R./)

2nd Reading: Hebrews 1:1-6

The son of Mary is the eternal Son, through whom all things were made

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.” Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Gospel: John 1:1-18

John’s Gospel Prologue: the divine nature of the Word-made-flesh

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 into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John . He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

BIBLE

Lord of the welcomes

At Christmas more than at any other time, there’s a welcome on the mat. Many families have visitors home for Christmas; and we will surely be making a round of social calls, over the Christmas days. But among all the greetings and the welcoming of friends, there is one welcome of special depth and meaning.

For the people of the Old Testament, light and darkness held special significance. They tended to associate them often with virtue and wickedness in the community, and also with the day of the Lord’s coming. Indeed, at Qumran on the Dead Sea shoreline, during the life-time of Jesus, light and darkness were seen as two opposing kingdoms, and the sun’s victory over darkness was held to be a symbol of the triumph of faith over the blind pursuit of evil. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.” So begins the Bible account of the first creation, and when it was ended, “God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good.”

This original goodness and justice was fragmented when our progenitors abused the freedom of will granted them by God, so that once again, as the prophet Isaiah says “darkness came to cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples.” (Is 60:2), To dispel this darkness, a new creation was needed, and the ideal of goodness and perfection became a living reality, when the light of Christ came into the world. .”The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; for those who lived in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.” (Is 9:2). For God, who had created humanity in his own image and likeness, had now identified with the human race, and by assuming the body of a human child, had come down among us.

The Christmas invitation is, Come to Jesus and feel welcome. No matter what what we’ve done, or how badly we may feel – he can help us become all that we’re meant to be: beloved sons, beloved daughters of God. Come to him… and yes, even if you feel that “churchy things” are not for you. “I don’t like organized religion” you mutter. OK, but Jesus want to open doors for you, not close them. To those accept him this Christmas day, he gives power to become children of God. It is he, our Lord Jesus Christ, who brings us here today. With his help we can make a new beginning as individuals, as family and as a parish. So let us say it again. Come to Jesus this Christmas Day. His mercy, from a heart aware of all human suffering, has no limit. To those who accept him he gives power to become children of God. Come to Jesus, and make this Christmas truly happy, in your heart of hearts.


Light shining in darkness

For the people of Israel, light and darkness were more than natural phenomena. They tended to associate them often with virtue and wickedness in the community, and also with the day of the Lord’s coming. Indeed, at Qumran on the Dead Sea shoreline, during the life-time of Jesus, light and darkness were seen as two opposing kingdoms, and the sun’s victory over darkness was held to be a symbol of the triumph of faith over the blind pursuit of evil. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.” That’s how chapter one of the Bible begins to describe creation, and when it was ended, God saw all that he had made, and indeed it was very good.

But this original goodness and justice was to be shattered, because our first parents abused the freedom of will granted them by God, so that once again, as the prophet Isaiah says “darkness came to cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples.” (Is 60:2), To dispel this darkness, a new creation was needed, and the ideal of goodness and perfection became a living reality, when the light of Christ came into the world. .”he people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; for those who lived in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.” (Is 9:2). For God, who had created man in his own image and likeness, had now identified with the human race, and by assuming the body of a child in the image of man, had come down to become one of us.

It has become a tradition to associate snow with Christmas, and when it does come, shrouding everything with its white mantle, a stillness settles over the countryside, especially at night-time. That combination of darkness and stillness was the setting for the first Christmas. As the Book of Wisdom states, “When all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the middle of her course, your almighty Word leaped down from heaven, from your royal throne.” (Wis 18:14f). It was as if God was again saying , “Let there be light” – let the gloom and darkness, which exemplify the fallen and corrupt nature of the human race, be lifted, ushering in a new age of glory to God and peace on earth. And so an angel of the Lord appeared to some humble shepherds tending their flocks in the enveloping darkness, and the brightness of the Lord shone round them. “Do not be afraid,” the angel reassured them. .”Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

We too must listen, listen in the stillness of our hearts, and, like the shepherds, we must hasten, and with eagerness draw near to Christ. We must search for Christ, hasten to him with eagerness, and in the quiet times of prayer understand anew our need for Christ. St Augustine held that prior to conceiving Christ in her womb, Mary first conceived him in her heart, by her faith. The Church, too, is the Mother of Christ in that, by obedience to the will of God, she brings Christ into being in the world. But we, its members, are the Church, and so in some sense we too can bring Christ to birth, , in this spiritual way, by doing God’s holy will.


2 Responses

  1. Kevin Walters

    Brightest of star in the darkest of night
    The Spirit of God revealing His light

    Innocence lay on bed of hay
    Is this what his gentle eyes do say?
    All wise men play their part,
    When searching for His light within the dark
    Gold frankincense and myrrh
    Within the righteous heart do stir
    Truth is love this must be understood
    No manmade decree
    It is the action of Truth that sets mankind free
    Deception and deceit are trod upon
    By His holy feet
    Humble of heart, placid moon, twinkling star
    All mankind shall know who you are

    *Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
    Let the earth hear His voice!
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
    Let the people rejoice!
    O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
    And give Him the glory, great things He hath done*

    May the light of the new-born Jesus
    Dwell in our hearts
    May its radiance embellish its self within us
    And the gift of His joy (Holy Spirit) be ours
    This Christmas time and always.

    *Refrain from the Hymn. To God be the glory (Fanny Crosby)

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  2. Thara+Benedicta

    Key message:
    God’s Christmas gift is Jesus!!

    (John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son for us.)

    Homily:
    Takeaway from first reading:
    Jesus is God in human body. God always talked to His people through prophets in Old Testament days. He was seen in different forms – as fire, cloud etc. God was not seen in plain eyes, and a prophet communicated between God and His people. Everyone thought of God sitting in His throne in Heaven. That was the picture of God people generally had those days.
    As quoted in the first reading :
    “in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion.” – The unseen God, is seen in the form of human as Jesus Christ
    “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. – The salvation of our God (Lord Jesus) was seen during the first Christmas and is now known to the ends of earth.

    Takeaway from second reading:
    In the second reading, Paul says that “Jesus is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being”.
    Jesus changed the mindset of people about God.
    John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” Yes, Jesus has introduced the real characteristics of God to us, by teaching the truth and by living as an example.
    John 18:37 – Jesus said, “This is why I was born and came into the world to tell people the truth.”
    John 8:32 – Jesus said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    According to the scriptures, Jesus was born to tell the people the truth – The truth who God is, who we are (His children), even if a nursing mother forgets her child, God will never forget us, no need to worry or fear, God is waiting to forgive and bless His children, God saved His children from sins and has enabled to live with Him forever and so on and on and on…
    Forget the past – since God forgives you, enjoy the present – since God takes care of you, do not worry about the future – since you have a place made ready for you in Heaven. This is the good news of Jesus!!

    Takeaway from Gospel reading:
    If Jesus was yet to be born, then would it be possible for us to know
    1. God who will take the human form just for the sake of us;
    2. God who will cook for us and invite us to eat “Come and have breakfast.” (John 21:12)
    3. God who will be a obedient child to His mother;
    4. God who will pay the taxes;
    5. God who will wash our feet and clean them;
    6. God who keep telling stories to explain the truth in simple words;
    7. God who walks on water, calms the storm, cures the lepers, gives sight to the blind, frees us from clutches of devil and so on…
    8. God who makes His people take rest, when they are tired; feeds them when they are hungry;
    9. God who can bring dead people to life, but does not care about His own life;
    10. God who will allow Himself to be crucified on the cross and die for us to gain entry pass to Heaven.

    Such an interesting God!! – Courtesy Our Lord Jesus

    Tips to receive our Christmas gift – Our Lord Jesus, from our Almighty Father:

    1. At Christmas God did not send prophets or angels to show His love. He came by Himself to show His love. God is loving us too much to hold Himself up in Heaven. But His love makes Him to hang for us on the cross. Is there anything that we can do that is too much for Him?

    2. I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10. Jesus came for us to enjoy our life fully. He did not just come to suffer on the cross and die so that we can reach Heaven finally; But He wants us to enjoy life fully trusting in Him that He is always there to take care of us.

    3. If you are feeling hopeless, then just think about that we are the root cause of Christmas, because if we do not need Jesus, then Jesus would not have come to earth. When God cares about you so much, won’t He solve your problems?

    4. In this Christmas season if you feel alone, then the truth is you are not alone. There is no place where God is not present. His love is everywhere. You cannot escape from God’s love. You may try to run far away from God, but His love will reach out to you.

    5. God’s love is deeper than any deep pit you may be in. Even if you are in the bottom of the pit right now in life, still he upholds you in His hand. Do not worry that you are in a deep pit, realise that God is holding you even there. He never leaves you or forsakes you.

    6. If you feel guilty about your past life, then God’s love will overlook your sins. You are like a small sapling in the eyes of our God. He is happy to water you and nourish you. Forget your past and press on to a new beginning.

    7. God came to earth to give us life. Our present situations may be tough. But God says that He is in control. We are all part of God’s family. When earthly parents give us food and care, will not our Almighty Father take care of us?

    For a moment, look at Baby Jesus in your crib; Almighty Father has gifted Him for you. Realise that God has come into your house as a baby!!!
    Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!!