“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.” (JN 1: 14)
“The Father’s only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth” is with us. He “made his dwelling among us” and wants to be close to every person. As a human, He can understand our limits; as God, He can help us and give us “power to become the children of God.” With Him we are closer to our identity.
“The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. To those who accepted him he gave power to become the children of God.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” (LK 2: 51-52)
This is one of the most important days for me: the feast of the Holy Family. With my brothers and sisters, members of the Secular Institute of Consecrated Life, The Institute of the Holy Family, we celebrate in a very special way today the Holy Family Feast. We pray that we will be able to “go down with them and come to Nazareth.” Their home in Nazareth is the best place to learn how to “advance in wisdom and age and favor before God and man,” the perfect place where we can learn how to love and be a sincere gift of self.
“Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.” (1 JN 2: 8-9)
Love and light; love your brother and remain in the light. It is possible because with love comes gentleness, respect, the gift of self, good quality time together, honest dialog and many different ways of expressing our relationship.
“A light of revelation to the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.” (1 JN 2: 1-2)
If anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.” I have met many people who were afraid to go to confession; the oldest one was more than 60 years without confession. We forget that Our Lord came to liberate us from our sins and that He is “an Advocate with the Father”; “He is expiation for our sins.” Our Lord is our Rescuer, our Advocate and our Redeemer.
“We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as Lord; the white-robed army of martyrs praise you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life —for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” (1 JN 1: 1-3)
“For the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us”—visible, hearable, touchable: God is among us. Every Eucharist is a wonderful mystery of Our Lord’s presence; hidden but visible, silent but hearable, reduced to small piece of bread but touchable.
“We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as Lord; the glorious company of Apostles praise you.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans.” (MT 10: 17-18)
Just one day after the celebration of Our Lord’s birthday, we hear such terrible words: “beware of men.” Christmas and Easter are connected, presenting two different sides of the same mystery—God loves us and to save us He became a man and died for us. We, as His children, can experience the same kind of persecutions.
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD: the LORD is God and has given us light.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“When the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.” (TI 3: 4-7)
We are so happy because today “the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared.” God came to us as a human being, as a child to save us from our sins, “not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy.” We adore Him and we invite Him into our homes to be with us forever.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.” (LK 1: 73-75)
We are God’s children; we are spiritual siblings of Our Lord, and as children, we are “free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.” His birthday “set us free from the hand of our enemies,” from Satan and his angels. We are free to love, to adore and to praise Him in every moment of our lives.
“O Radiant Dawn, Splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Thus says the LORD: You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; whose origin is from of old, from ancient times.” (MI 5: 1)
Nobody is “too small” for Our Lord. He is not looking for who is the strongest or the most powerful; He chooses those who are close to His heart and who love Him with all their hearts and follow His commandments.
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord may it be done to me according to your word.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Mary set out in those days and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” (LK 1: 39-40)
Our liturgy is so solemn and majestic; every gesture, move and word is full of mystery—it looks like time slowed down. It is because we would like to celebrate these moments again and again and enjoy everything we have received from God. But there is also some kind of urgency and haste when we want to share with others the Good News, like Our Lady, who traveled “in haste” to meet Elizabeth and enjoy with her the mystery of God’s presence in their lives.
“O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!” (Gospel Acclamation)