Gospel Reflection – Christmas
Malvern Minute

 

DECEMBER 25, 2016, THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD

MASS DURING THE NIGHT, CHRISTMAS EVE

Alleluia, alleluia

I proclaim to you good news of great joy:

Today a Savior is born for us, Christ the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 2: 1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.  This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.  And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son.  She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.  The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.  

The angel said to them, “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.”


And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

Who has not heard this beautiful presentation by Saint Luke concerning Joseph, Mary, and the Child Jesus.  With Christmas excitement, most of us combine the Infancy Narratives of both Saint Luke and Saint Matthew, and therefore, mix shepherds and sheep with Magi and Camels.  Yet, there are no Magi in this evening’s Gospel.  No, Saint Luke positions the shepherds and their sheep right up front for very, very significant reasons!

I once had a person registering in the parish as a parishioner.  She told me the reason why she was registering.  She said: she wanted her son to know everything about Jesus, Mary and the DONKEY!  I felt bad that my patron, Saint Joseph did not even get honourable mention!  But, it goes to show you that even Catholics have very little knowledge of what the Gospel (St. Luke & St. Matthew) stories about Jesus’ birth really tells us and means.

Saint Luke proclaims: Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock…. the angel of the Lord appeared to them….

This one little passage tells us a great deal.  The region mentioned is the area around Bethlehem.  The sheep born without any marks or blemishes were destined to be slaughtered in sacrifice on Passover.  There is only one time a year that shepherds, to this very day, are in the fields with their sheep at night as opposed to being in corrals for safety.  The sheep cannot be confined to corrals when they are birthing lambs because the lambs would be crushed in the tight confines of a corral.  The fields give them more room.  So, this is what Saint Luke is saying: Jesus was born in the spring near the feast of Passover; and, while the sheep in the fields are being born, the LAMB OF GOD IS BEING BORN; Jesus like the Bethlehem lambs was born to die at Passover-Easter to free His people from sin and pass them over to the real Promised Land!                 Praise God!

She (Mary) wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger.   Saint Luke explains that while the couple of Bethlehem was poor, the child was wrapped in swaddling clothes like kings were.  And, Jesus was placed in a manger where animals would feed.  Saint Luke continues to reveal the true identity of Jesus: this child is a king, KING OF KINGS.   Jesus is placed in a manger to demonstrate that Jesus is real food, but not just any food.  The word Bethlehem translated into English means House of BreadJesus Christ, King of Kings is the Bread of Life laid in a manger so His people may eat and have life!

Do you now see a little better the volume of truth contained in the Gospels?  Are we not blessed to have the Gospels to read and ponder each day? Do you see why we NEED each week to go the Manger of the Mass to receive the Bread of Life. Unless we consume the King of Kings, the Bread of Life, the Lamb of God we have no life in us!!!!

 

HAVE A BLESSED CHRIST-MASS … AND MAY GOD BLESS US ONE AND ALL!

PS:  While blessing the Christmas tree last year in Saint Peter’s square, Pope Francis offered this reflection:  The wishes that we carry in our heart are now in the most suitable place, because they are close to the child of Bethlehem: they are entrusted to Him, He who came to live in our midst. Indeed, Jesus did not simply appear on earth, and did not dedicate just a little of His time to us, but rather came to share our life and to receive our desires, as He wanted and still wants to live here, along with us and for us.

Let us be PRESENT to the Eternal One who became A CHRISTMAS PRESENT to us in His Son Jesus Christ!

 

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

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