Rejoice! The Word, “the light that darkness could not overpower…the true light that enlightens” all is here among us. Stand in awe and gratitude that Jesus, our Saviour “was made flesh” and dwelt among us. And He is still here among us.
See Him in the faces of the seven or more billion people who live on this blessed earth; see Him in the flora and fauna. Indeed, His presence is everywhere. Find some time to reflect on the profound message in today’s Gospel, the Prologue to St John’s Gospel (John 1: 1-18) from which the above quotations are taken.
At Christmas we reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation. Jesus became truly man while remaining truly God. As stated in Gaudium et Spes: “The Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. The Son of God …worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin”.
We need God’s grace if we are to allow His light to enlighten us. How are we, the followers of Christ, allowing our faith to work through us to transform society/the world? While I was setting up my crèche at my home, I noticed that my porcelain figure of Jesus was broken. Perhaps it broke while packing it away last year.
I was truly upset as I thought that the broken figure would spoil the entire set of expensive figures that formed the crèche. And I so wanted my home to look good as members of a committee to which I belong were coming to my home for their Christmas lunch. I searched high and low but could not find the piece that was missing. I thought: “How it go look if I put Jesus’ figure in the manger with a piece missing?”
At the same time a friend rang to ask if I had heard about the incident in which a 15 year old girl was raped in the back seat of a car – in broad daylight. In my mind’s eye, I saw the broken figure of the infant Jesus and linked it to the brokenness of our society/world. Jesus expects us to have a close encounter with him – not in the form of a porcelain figure, but in the flesh and blood of His children, our brothers and sisters who are hurting or who have strayed from the path of righteousness.
That night I received a call from a friend who lives in England and who is depressed. I had to stop writing a paper I was preparing, and listen – really listen to her, and offer advice and guidance. Love of neighbour has no geographical boundaries. There are many ways in which we can reach out to others in need.
I urge you today, to reach out to others in your community or to those living abroad whom you know may be lonely, and bring some Christian cheer to their lives. A kind word, a gentle touch, a piece of cake, a pastelle, a plate of food. Remember today’s Gospel: “…from His fullness we have, all of us, received – yes, grace in return for grace…grace and truth have come through Jesus Christ.”
I went on a cruise recently and met a 90 year old man who was on his 11th cruise. He is old and lonely, yet fit. He sees such cruises as an opportunity to meet others and to communicate with them. Unlike many, he has the wherewithal to pay for such trips.
If our parish pastoral plans are working well, people will not feel that they have to go elsewhere to seek friendship. To revitalise our Catholic culture and identity, we must revitalise our parishes spiritually to ensure that everyone is seen to be of worth. On this Christmas day, let us re-commit ourselves to affirm the dignity of each person.
The pastoral plans submitted to Archbishop Harris at the Cathedral on December 8 must not be put away to collect dust. They must be living documents. They will not “come alive” just so. We parishioners have to assist our priests and parish administrators to ensure that these plans are implemented, monitored and evaluated effectively. The Archdiocese has a Mission Statement and our pastoral plans will help us to achieve our mission to build the civilisation of love.
May the love of Christ remain with you and yours through this Christmas season and always. Warmest wishes from all of us on CCSJ.