Thursday, December 24, 2015

Midnight Mass before Christmas day, C

Christmas and the Mercy of God

Luke 2:1-14

There was a man who looked and acted like a Scrooge, never understand what Christmas meant and why Christ had to become human.

One snowy night, when he was comfortably reading a book by the fireplace, he heard a disturbing noise outside.  He peeked through the window and saw a flock of birds, looking helpless in the snow, trying to look for a secured place so they can rest.

The man immediately decided, "They need help.  I have a barn, I can place them there."

He immediately went to his barn and opened it.  But the birds did not come in.  He decided to put crumbs near the entrance so the birds can be enticed to enter but they didn't.  He made gestures and signals, but the more they scattered.

He said to himself, "They don't trust me.  If I were a bird, they would have understood what I meant."  Just then he heard the bells ring for the Christmas midnight mass and suddenly he thought, "Now I understand what Christmas means and why Jesus had to be human."  (Author unknown)

In this year declared by the Holy Father Pope Francis as the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, he said, "Jesus is the face of the Father's mercy...  Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him. The Father, “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4), after having revealed his name to Moses as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex 34:6), has never ceased to show, in various ways throughout history, his divine nature. In the “fullness of time” (Gal 4:4), when everything had been arranged according to his plan of salvation, he sent his only Son into the world, born of the Virgin Mary, to reveal his love for us in a definitive way. Whoever sees Jesus sees the Father (cf. Jn 14:9). Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person[1] reveals the mercy of God." (Miserecordiae Vultus, no. 1)

I shall base my Christmas reflections on Miserecodiae Vultus no. 2: "We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness."

A wellspring of joy, serenity and peace ...  When have we felt truly joyful, serene, and peaceful?  True joy and peace are not as the world offers them, but as God does.  True joy and peace reach eternal happiness in heaven.

The very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity ...  does my life here on earth reflect the unity and diversity of the Most Holy Trinity?  Do I treat the Church as the living image of the Most Holy Trinity?

A supreme act ... When have we participated in the sufferings of Jesus for the salvation of our brothers and sisters and of the entire world?

The fundamental law dwelling in the heart of every person ...  What lies within my heart?  Unconditional love for others or an exclusive one?  As Jesus loves us, it is time for us to truly love one another without conditions.

The bridge that connects God and man ... When all of our actions and motivations lead to connecting people with God and God to us.

Mercy has become incarnate in the the vulnerable body of the Baby Jesus.  Let us also incarnate and live out mercy in our bodies and souls as well.  Merry Christmas!

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