Christmas Day Mass 2014
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, “Your God is King! Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the LORD restoring Zion. Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the LORD comforts his people, he redeems Jerusalem. The LORD has bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations; all the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God.Second Reading
Brothers and sisters: In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say: “You are my son; this day I have begotten you”? Or again: “I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me”? And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world, he says: “Let all the angels of God worship him.”Gospel Cycle B
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. 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. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.
My sisters and brothers in Christ,
The Prophet Isaiah again helps us understand this mystery. God has created all that is. Yet creation is in need of salvation. This God who loves us so very much is always reaching deep into the human experience and sending us salvation. The Prophet is able to recognize that it is God reaching out to us and into our human history--always out of love and always out of a desire to save us and to love us. We want to come to know personally that God reaches out to us and wants to give us a share in His love.
The Letter to to Hebrews takes us this theme of salvation and helps us understand more profoundly by reflecting on the mystery of God taking on our humanity. Even in the early Christians, it was an enormous leap of faith to believe that Jesus was truly God. Those who knew Him, knew His humanity and His goodness. They also knew that His words constantly kept saying that He was God. But to believe that was almost impossible. Even today, we sometimes find it easier to forget that Jesus is both fully human and fully divine.
The Gospel of John takes us to an even deeper theological level, meditating on the relationship of the Word of God with all of creation and all that exists. We could meditate on this one verse forever: From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him.
We have received fullness! Grace on grace on grace! On this Christmas Day we can reflect on the joy that comes to us, even in the midst of sorrow and suffering, when we place all our hope in the Lord. We can look at our lives and see blessing. Jesus has shown us the face of God and it is love and mercy.