December 23, 2012
FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
MERRY CHRISTMAS! This greeting really says it all. First there was Mary, who had to be the happiest person since she knew the perfect joy of doing God’s will.
Then there was Christ, the Messiah in Hebrew, which means God’s Anointed One. From the Divine Glory of God and from the Immaculate Heart of Mary comes to us Jesus, the baby who is truly the Son of God and the son of Mary- the son ofMan.
Mary – Christ –Mass. The Mass of Christ is where we have received the word “Christmas,” but I am not sure about the word Merry, if there is any connection with Mary, but I would be surprised if there is no connection.
Jesus Christ and his “new and eternal covenant” that he gifted to us at his Last Supper is the reason for the season which is why we say “Merry Christmas”. Christ was born inBethlehemwhich means “house of bread.” He was laid upon the wood of the manger where animals eat, in order that we, sinners though we are, might be fed by his divine love and life which he freely laid down upon the wood of the cross for our salvation.
That is why the night before giving us the tremendous gift of offering his life upon the cross, Christ celebrated the Last Supper and the first Mass with his Twelve chosen apostles and commanded them, “Do this in memory of me.”
The Mass is the “new and eternal covenant” by which Christ sustains us on pilgrimage to God the Father, every Sunday and Holy Day of obligation.
Blessed John Paul II, our former Pope of happy memory, writes this about Jesus’ relationship to his Father. “Only the Son makes the Father known – the visible Son makes us see the Father Who is invisible. ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father.’”
Blessed John Paul II prepared the world for the new Christian millennium. He wrote in his encyclical letter, As the Third Millennium Draws Near: “The whole Christian life is like a great pilgrimage to the house of the Father, whose unconditional love for every human creature and in particular for the ‘Prodigal Son’, we discover anew each day.”
This unconditional, saving love of God is a gift that is found completely in Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church. It is for this reason we strive to follow his words proclaimed at Mass and made flesh in the sacraments. This unconditional love and grace saves us when we respond to it with faith, hope and love. For this reason we are called to pray to our heavenly Father every day with the inspiration of Jesus, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread…”
What are we saying? God is “our Father” and so we are brothers and sisters who need to help one another on this journey to the Father’s heavenly home with both our material and spiritual resources. If we share in his divine life and grace, and suffer when called upon to manifest sacrificial love for God and others, we are assured a share in his everlasting joy and glory.
Mary, the Immaculate Conception, pray for us!
Fr. Thomas McCabe