“You shall find an Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12) This was given as a sign by the angel. a sign that this was somebody special, that this was who they were looking for. In other words, this was a little out of the ordinary. What, then, does the Lord’s birth portend? He, the creator and Lord of all, unlimited power and majesty, born in a stable. And hardly a stable at that, we are told, a hollow on the side of a cave, exposed to the elements. Born in obscurity, only the cloths of the poor to be wrapped in. If the birth of a King is commensurate to his dignity or his kingship, then what can we say about the birth of Jesus? He has come to rule the humble.
The Propers of Christmas Eve are very much about the relationship of the Messiah to His people. And what is that relationship? The prophet Jeremiah tells us, “They shall be my people and I shall be their God.” (Jer 32:38) But today’s Propers point out which conditions He will be our God as well as the significant benefits of this arrangement.
Mary was conceived in the womb of St. Ann, and in that moment, and for all eternity, she was and will remain untouched by any and every stain of sin. Not since the sin of Adam had such a child been conceived, and only one child would be conceived after her in that way. That child would be God Himself, conceived in the womb of the Immaculate Conception.
“The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen. … For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:2, 6)
The Lord God, He is creator and ruler of all things. The government is upon His shoulder, the burden of command is His. We must trust Him. He cannot be wrong, he cannot make a mistake, he cannot fail. He will rule by peace and love and mercy if we will have him, or by might and justice and judgement over our eternal souls if we will not.
A child is born who can stop the hand of God, who can overthrow the power of the maker of this world and free the slaves of sin. No mere child could be so powerful unless that child was also God. And how has He stopped the hand of wrath, overturned the death sentence of the whole human race and empowered man to resist the might of the devil and his cohorts? By becoming weak, by taking on our nature. He empowered our nature by subjecting Himself to our sentence, not just of death but of misery as a frail mortal. He knows what it is to be one of us. The Eternal Word, being strong, became weak.
Meditation is light to the mind and life to the soul. Everyone needs to make meditation a regular part of your life. In this sermon preached at the Midnight Mass of Christmas Day, Father teaches how to make mental prayer a simple practice for every person, every day:
1) First, a greeting – make an act of adoration and contrition
2) Visit and chat over experiences that you’ve shared with Him – not about our lives so much, but about His, that is, things we read in the bible or in the writings of the Saints about Him
3) Take your leave of him – Thanking Him with real gratitude, and asking again for His help, His continued support and love, and promise to come back soon.
Advent is a time for penance, so that we can detach ourselves from the sinful attitudes and material things that take up so much of our time and energy so that we can make room for Christ. Advent is also a time for sorrow, for our savior is not yet here, and we commemorate the time of Man’s separation from God. Finally, Advent is a time to find the eternal joy that Christians are made for, the joy that can only be found in selflessness in our actions.
God, of all people, has the right to say “Trust me” and expect people to trust him. But he knows us, and so he furnishes us with proof that he is trustworthy. In this sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent, look at the evidence God affords us so that we will trust Him.
“The Word Became Flesh” is the central mystery of our faith. The first two Masses for Christmas day (the Mass at Midnight and the Mass at Dawn) told about the birth of our Savior according to the flesh, born in a stable in Bethlehem. But in the Mass of Christmas Day, Holy Mother Church wants to make sure that we understand the significance of that event, the Word became flesh.