Thursday, December 25, 2014

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord - Thursday, December 25, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Isaiah 52:7-10
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!” 8Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the Lord restoring Zion. 9Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the Lord comforts his people, he redeems Jerusalem. 10 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.

P S A L M - Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6
R: All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; his right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm. (R) The Lord has made his salvation known; in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. (R) All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; break into song; sing praise. (R) Sing praise to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and melodious song. 6With trumpets and the sound of the horn sing joyfully before the King, the Lord. (R)

2ND READING - Hebrews 1:1-6
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, 3who 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 first-born into the world, he says: “Let all the angels of God worship him.”

A holy day has dawned upon us. Come, you nations, and adore the Lord. For today a great light has come upon the earth.

John 1:1-18
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. 10 He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. 12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, 13 who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. 14 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. 15 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.’” 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, 17 because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.



It was 2:30 a.m., a Sunday, and I was sound asleep. Suddenly, I was awakened by a commotion: people shouting, children crying, things breaking. The large squatter area beside our seminary was being razed by fire, the second in a six-month span. My immediate reaction was, “Not again, not this hour, not on a Sunday!” But there we were, the whole seminary, playing firemen, assisting the people, giving them temporary shelter. When it was all over, I had to remind myself, “When it comes to doing a good thing, there is no such thing as wrong timing. Surrendering one’s comfort is inseparable from loving.”

       If surrendering one’s comfort is inseparable from loving, consider what comfort God had to give up in becoming one with humanity. The Jesuit Horacio dela Costa, in an essay called “The Paradox of Christmas” said it most eloquently. Let me quote a few choice lines:

     Was there ever a house more topsy-turvy than the House of Christmas, the cave where Christ was born?

       For here, suddenly, in the very heart of Earth, is Heaven; down is up and up is down, the angels and the stars look down on God who made them, and God looks up at the things He made.

       There is no room in an inn for Him who made room, and to spare, for the Milky Way; and where God is homeless, all men are at home.

       We were promised a Savior, but we never dreamed that God himself would come to save us. We knew that He loved us, but we never dared to think that He loved us so much as to become like us.

       But that is the way God gives. His gifts are never quite what we expect, but always something better than we hoped for.

       We can only dream of things too good to be true; God has a habit of giving things too good to be false.

       As we celebrate Christmas, pause, and in a moment of sincere prayer, thank Jesus for all these undeserved gifts. Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: When your planned “self-time” is interrupted by an unplanned opportunity for loving another, how do you react? Is your goodness/charity “scheduled”?

What return can I make, O Lord, for the good You have done? I can only take up the cup of salvation, and call upon Your name. Amen. 

St. Eugenia, pray for us.

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