Solemnity of Christ’s Birth. Christmas Mass during the day: Isaiah 52:7-10; Ps 98:1-6; Hebrews 1:1-6 John 1:1-18
For those of us who have been Christian from baptism or converted later, there is a certain joy and comfort in reading the Christmas stories in the gospels, celebrating Christmas Masses and listening to all the beautiful Christmas carols and Christmas shows on TV. For many, after all the business, presents and family meals, we can calm down.
If we can take the time to really reflect on the greater significance of Christ coming to earth to be with us great amazement comes. As I have been saying, once Jesus came to earth he has stayed with us. Though his earthly body and physical presence did leave at the Ascension, he is born when his priests celebrate daily Mass.
Daily miracle of the Eucharist
We pray in the Our Father, “give us this day our daily bread.” And God responds to our prayer by giving us the redeeming value of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. The priest says over the bread and wine what Jesus said almost 2,000 years ago at the Last Supper. “This is my body given for you.” “This is the chalice of my blood poured out for you and the forgiveness of sins,” a daily miracle at Mass all over the world at some moment (except Good Friday.)
What can we do with such a miracle and great gift? We could try to go to Mass more frequently as we realize the deeper value of such a gift. In the last third of my father’s life, after the death of a worker in our family business, my father went to Mass every day before he went to work. I often went with him when I was in high school.
Over the years my understanding of this great miracle has become clearer to me. I say the words Jesus said and behold, I am holding Jesus in my hands. Then I give him to others. We have “breakfast” with Jesus. The best one on earth and Jesus is the food and much more.
See if you can get to Mass more frequently to experience being pierced with more of Jesus’ love. If there is not a church in your area or city that has one day of adoration of Jesus in the tabernacle, see if you can get some other parishioners and go to the pastor asking to begin one day of adoration each week. Our country and world need more of Christ’s mercy in this way. You can quietly sing adoration hymns and Christmas carols, “O Come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,” etc. Growing joy will fill your heart. As you go back into the world you bring Jesus’ joy and radiant light to others. We become Christ-bearers. Amen!
Helpful stories of more of the events around the birth of Jesus can be found in the mystical visions of an Augustinian nun from near Westfalia, Germany, in the 18th century. From the age of seven, helping her family tend cattle on the meadows, she began to see visions of the life of Christ. Some of these visions are recorded in 4 volumes, “The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations,” by Blessed Ann Catherine Emmerich.
During this special week of celebrating Christ’s birth, know that I am holding all of your, your families, parishes, work and area in my heart before Jesus, Emmanuel, God always with us, Isaiah 7:10 and Matthew 1:23. Have a joyful, blessed and wonderful Christmas.
Peace and all good!
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)