Vigil of Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord 2012

Today, because we celebrate the birthday God made man, at the Creed, we will genuflect (for those who are able) at the words and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man[1]

Our Mother the Church with its liturgy wants us not only to give adoration to God but also to help engrain in our psyche the power that these words hold. Salvation is not communion with some Impersonal Philosophic Divine Essence. It’s not sitting on cloud strumming harp looking at God from a distance. – boring. I understand why people don’t want to go to heaven or come to Mass every week if that is what heaven is like. But salvation is much more wonderful than anything we can ever imagine. Salvation is an intimate and personal relationship with a personal God who loves us more than we can ever know. How many times have you seen A Charlie Brown Christmas? Well, there is all this commotion about a Christmas tree and Snoopy’s commercialism, but in the end, Linus brings us back to the real meaning of Christmas by quoting Luke’s Gospel story of the Birth of Jesus.  It’s a very familiar reading and I wonder how many people, when I began the gospel story, thought I sounded like the teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons, “Wa Wa Wa Wa Wa.”

When we heard the beginning of the Gospel story, did we mentally switch off a little button in our head, been there, heard that I hope the football game is more exciting. What is the major complaint about coming to Mass every week?  It’s boring.  Well, G.K. Chesterton writes, «A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit, fierce and free, therefore, they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again;” and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough... It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again,” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again,” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we» .
Let us be honest: have we taken the Christmas message for granted? The all-powerful, all-knowing, all-merciful God became, through Mary’s Fiat (the old Latin word for “Let it be done) a little embryo that began to grow inside of Mary. 
In his encyclical on the Eucharist, blessed John Paul wrote, «At the Annunciation, Mary conceived the Son of God in the physical reality of his body and blood, thus anticipating within herself what to some degree happens sacramentally in every believer who receives, under the signs of bread and wine, the Lord's body and blood. As a result, there is a profound analogy between the Fiat which Mary said in reply to the angel, and the Amen which every believer says when receiving the body of the Lord». Thus, after the minister says The Body of Christ, we should with great faith proclaim Amen and receive our God into our mouths. 

And just as Mary was without sin when she conceived Jesus in her womb so too when we, Catholics, receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we must be in a state of grace, free from grave sin, and have fasted one hour, to prepare a place for Jesus to rest in our souls. And yet, this wonderful gift of God made man, this wonderful gift of Emmanuel, God with us not only in the Incarnation but also in the Holy Eucharist is something that we celebrate every Sunday. 

My brother, my sister, let us recapture that faith of a little child on the day of their first communion, and figuratively say to the priest at every Mass “Do it again! Make present the Body and Blood Soul and Divinity of the living God present among us” ■

[1] Monday 24th December, 2012, Christmas Eve. 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord—Ps 88(89):2-5, 27, 29. Luke 1:67-79.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris