May Jesus be reborn in your heart and life during Christmas 2022 and every day of the New Year 2023 as sharing love, unconditional forgiveness, humble service, compassionate heart, and overflowing
generosity. May the Holy Babe of Bethlehem bless you with health in body and soul and grant you a peaceful and blessed New Year. I assure you of my special prayers during my Christmas Holy Masses and every day in the New Year.
The scripture lessons for today focus on the first Christmas. The Gospel explains the genealogy of Jesus, tracing His descent from David and His birth at Bethlehem as our Savior. In the first reading, Isaiah shows us the vindication of Israel by the Lord God. This vindication has found its fulfillment, for all of us, in the coming of Jesus as our Savior.
In the second reading, St. Paul recounts the history of God’s mercy to Isaiah. That mercy has culminated in the birth of Jesus, the Messiah Whom the Jews have been waiting for centuries.
- Look for Jesus in unlikely places and persons. During the Christmas season, we, like the Magi, must give our precious gift, our lives to Jesus. We will learn to discover Him in the most unlikely places and the most distasteful people – those suffering or in distress, poverty, or fear. The message of Christmas is that we can truly find Jesus if we look in the right places: in the streets, in slums, in asylums, in orphanages, in nursing homes, starting in our own homes, workplaces, and town. We need to look for Him in people that we might otherwise ignore: the homeless, the sick, the addict, the unpleasant person, the rebel, or the person of different culture and lifestyle from us. True Christmas is about celebrating the coming of God among the poor, the homeless, and the disadvantaged with a message of hope and liberation for these sufferers in our world. It is about our responsibility to be part of that liberating process. It is about working to remove the shameful blot of poverty, discrimination, and exploitation that is the lot of too many in our environment of prosperity. God challenges us to be like the shepherds who overcame their fear of seeking out Jesus or the Wise Men who traveled a long distance to find Him. Then we will have the true experience of Christmas – the joy of the Savior.
- Allow the Savior to be reborn in our lives. Let us remember the famous lines of Alexander Pope: “What do I profit if Jesus is born in thousands of cribs all over the world during this Christmas, but is not born in my heart?” Let us allow Him to be reborn in our lives during Christmas 2022 and every day of the New Year 2023. How should we prepare for Christ’s rebirth in our daily lives? As a first step, John the Baptist urges us to repent daily of our sins and renew our lives by leveling the hills of pride and selfishness, filling up the valleys of impurity, and straightening the crooked paths of hatred. Our second step in preparing for Christ’s rebirth in our daily lives is to cultivate the spirit of sacrifice and humility. By sacrifice, the shepherds of Bethlehem and the Magi were able to find the Savior. They were humble enough to see God in the Child in the manger. We, too, can experience Jesus by sharing Him with others, just as God shared His Son with us. Let us remember that the angels wished peace on earth only to those able to receive that peace, those who possessed the goodwill and largeness of heart to share Jesus our Savior with others in love, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, and humble service.
May you experience Jesus’ love for you and your families today and every day throughout the New
Love, Peace, and Merry Christmas,