“When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord.” (Lk 2: 22-23)
When the world proclaims the end of Christmas and goes to the next event–New Year’s Day, we contemplate every day, every single fact of Our Lord’s life. “The parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord”: the Son of God was presented to His Father. We can imagine the look of love from the Father to His Son. God the Father has the same love for every one of us.
“God so loved the world that he gave his Only Begotten Son, so that all who believe in him may not parish, but may have eternal life.” (Entrance Antiphon)
“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.” (1 Jn 1: 1-2)
“The life was made visible” in a very significant way—as a Child. This is very natural for life: when new life begins in his/her mother’s womb, that life immediately begins to show his/her presence. Life wants to be visible in every possible way: “what we have heard, what we have seen… what we looked upon and touched with our hands.” And the Good News about Life has to be spread; an Angel announced it to shepherds and a star to Three Kings. Now it is our turn to proclaim the Good News—to be witnesses to Life.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and from his fullness we have received.” (Communion Antiphon)
“As they were stoning Stephen, he called out ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’” (Acts 7: 59)
Our Lord takes care of us in every circumstance, even if we are totally abandoned and persecuted by others. He came to take away all our fears, overcome all our enemies and lead us to invincible love. St. Stephen, from a human point of view, lost his life, but from a wider perspective — he won his life: the Lord Jesus received his spirit. Now he is with Him to protect us and to help us in our lives.
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD: the LORD is God and has given us light.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Lk 2: 10-12)
“Good news of great joy” is the best description of today’s feast—“a Savior has been born for you.” He will take all our sins, our despair and our fears, and will bring us joy, freedom and unconditional love. And He came as “an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” to show that it will be done not by force and power but by love and the gift of Self.
“I proclaim to you good news of great joy: today a Savior is born for us, Christ the Lord.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.” (Lk 1: 76-77)
He is coming with the most beautiful gift—“the forgiveness of our sins.” All His love is focused on us, not because we are perfect or we deserve it, but because we are loved and we need it. Our weak nature and “eagle’s heart” are quite often in conflict and need forgiveness of our sins: sins of pride or laziness, sins of thinking of ourselves as indispensable or insignificant, sins of excessive work, excessive planning or being short-sighted, and many others. Only God’s grace can give us again the right balance of being totally dependent on Him and focused on Him and at the same moment totally devoted to our brothers and sisters in service.
“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)
“You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Mt 10:19-20)
Yesterday we celebrated a great joy, today we celebrate the First Martyr – St. Stephen. Lack of logic in the Liturgy, or… we need to open our eyes wider.
When Our Lord came to us, there is nothing like “illogical death” anymore. He is the light which helps us understand even as illogical things as a sudden death of his believer. He enables us to see things from the right perspective: “I see the heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God“ (Acts 7:56). Death is not the end, it is a natural way to eternal life.
And, what’s so important, we are not alone anymore: “You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Mt 10:19-20)
With Jesus – there is always the Father and the Holy Spirit. When we invited Child Jesus to our hearts again , He did not came alone. He is always united with the Father and the Spirit.
The Church again and again reminds us about new Evangelization. So often we are so afraid what we should do or say. And this is the answer: if you ask Him for help, He will come and will help you: “you will be given at that moment what you are to say”.
The Church celebrates tonight and today the Holy Mass of Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ three times: the Mass during the night, the Mass at dawn and the Mass during the day. Three times with different readings and different prayers we celebrate the same Mystery. Sharing the same joy – we are not alone, there is no more darkness, we have God who has become a man, “today true peace has come down to us from heaven” (from Entrance Antiphony).
We celebrate the first Mass with the Angels: “And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angels, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rest” (Lk 2:13-14).
It is my private idea – if you are in darkness, in the night, spiritual or just natural – remember about the Angels. Ask them for help. They were there during this the most important night. (And also they appeared to announce the Miracle of Resurrection – they know where they should be).
The Mass at dawn is with shepherds. “When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” (Lk 2:15)
Let us go. Simple reaction. Be ready to go. When Good News arrives, you can’t stay in the same place. You should go. “When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child” (Lk 2:17). Spread the message. I know – it is so hard. But it could be your different face, or A word of forgiveness or A phone call after years of silence – because you got the message, you went to confession, you prepared your heart and He visited you. Spread the message, and if you don’t know how – ask the shepherds – they will tell you.
The Mass of light. “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9). His word is a true light. “In the begging was the Word, nad the Word was God… What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (J 1:1, 3b-5).
God’s Word in our life. He came as a Child and stayed with us as a Word. And He – the Word is a light and life.
No more darkness. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”.
“Grant us, Lord, as we honor with joyful devotion the Nativity of your Son, that we may come to know with fullness of faith the hidden depths of this mystery and to love them ever more and more” (Prayer after Communion, Mass at Dawn).
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim… (1John 1:1)
He’s done everything so that you might touch Him, like St John did.
He knew that as a newborn baby needs the touch – you’ll have the same basic need, too. For some reasons He was not afraid of your scratches, wounds or dirt. You may touch Him whenever you want. You may touch Him in His Word – you can feel it under your fingertips when you tap the relevant app on your portable device, if you prefer it over the paperback or hardcover.
You may touch Him in the Eucharist, you may – as St John – rest on His Heart, where all the torment finds relief. You may – like a child – get entangled in His robe, get lost in it completely. You may let Him grip your hand firmly when the world around you seems to be collapsing.
No matter if you experienced in your life the “bad touch” or not enough of touch – you can touch Him and let Him touch you without fear. That’s why He came to this world. To tell you about the proximity you don’t have to be afraid of.