Engaging Faith | Thu, Dec 17, 2015
The Nativity of the Lord (c)
December 25, 2015
Vigil: Isaiah 62:1-5; Acts 13:16-17, 22-25; Matthew 1:1-25 or Matthew 1:18-25
Midnight: Isaiah 9:1-6; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14
Dawn: Isaiah 62:11-12; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2:15-20
During the Day: Isaiah 52:7-10; Hebrews 1:1-6; John 1:1-18
December 25: Christmas
December 26: Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr
December 26: Start of Kwanzaa
December 27: Feast of the Holy Family
January 1, 2014: Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
January 1, 2014: World Day of Prayer for Peace & New Year’s Day
THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.
-Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 1
May indifference be changed into closeness and rejection into hospitality.
-Pope Francis, Urbi et Orbi Message, Christmas 2014
God’s heart has a special place for the poor, so much so that he himself “became poor” (2 Cor 8:9). The entire history of our redemption is marked by the presence of the poor.
-Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 197
Our hearts this Christmas are anxious and distressed because of the continuation in various parts of the world of war, social tensions, and the painful hardships in which so many people find themselves. We are all seeking an answer that will reassure us.
-John Paul II, December 24, 2001
Our Savior is born for all. We must proclaim this not only in words, but by our entire life, giving the world a witness of united, open communities where fraternity and forgiveness reign, along with acceptance and mutual service, truth, justice and love.
-Benedict XVII, Urbi et Orbi Message, Christmas 2006
Why should there be rich people that have more than they need and poor who don’t have anything? God didn’t plan it that way. He planned for us to be equals. That’s why we have to build a society where everyone has the right to live a decent life.... Maybe it sounds like I have my head in the clouds. But I’ve heard about these astronauts in the United States who’ve gone into outer space. And I figure, hell, if these astronauts can get to the moon, then why can’t ordinary folks like us learn to share the earth?
-Elvia Alvarado, Honduran Human Rights Advocate
Real blood was shed at this delivery, by a poor woman of peasant society far from home, laboring in childbirth for the first time. And it was holy.
-Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, Truly Our Sister, 277
Thoughts for Your Consideration
We celebrate Christmas is the context of many dramatic events over the last month or two: the huge number migrants and refugees trying to enter Europe, the terrorist attacks in Paris, the shootings in San Bernardino, the great number of people who are campaigning to exclude migrants and especially Muslims, ongoing wars in Syria, the Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other places.
The effects of human behavior on the climate are becoming more evident. In Paris, after years and years of struggle and negotiation, almost 200 nations signed on to a plan to address climate change.
In the church, Pope Francis has declared a year of mercy.
In the midst of all this we celebrate the birth of a child to a homeless family in an obscure town 200 years ago. This child has been called “Emmanuel which means God is with us” (Matthew 1:23), “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), and “the word made flesh (John 1:14).
God shares all of these struggles with us. God wants good things for all of us. God walks with us on the journey to peace and mercy.