Walmart tragedy 2011--things over the person who died.
Shop until you drop! Buying, having,
possessing and allowing your possessions to possess you! Rushing for this sale
and this discount. Stampeding into
stores concentrating on things more than on human persons. Worrying about the food, the drink, the
parties and the pleasure. Sad to say,
this has all become the modern immediate preparation for Christmas. Moreover, in many places even the word
“Christmas” has been forbidden from modern vocabulary!
I want my "things"!
In other words, the true meaning of
Christmas, far and wide has been obliterated from the minds of the modern
world. Christmas has been transformed into a secular even pagan holiday.
To counteract this enormous
materialistic and paganistic tendency we would like to encourage all to reflect
upon five simple and clear ideas so as to live a truly spiritual Christmas.
Mary and St. Joseph travelling to Bethlehem
JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON. The whole focus of Advent which culminates
in the Solemnity of Christmas is a PERSON!
That person is Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus is the true reason for the entire
season. Jesus was conceived by the Holy
Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary in the humble, poor stable of Bethlehem. The name “Jesus” means Savior. He came to
open up the gates of heaven, to save us from slavery to sin, the devil and
eternal damnation. This Christmas let us contemplate the Person of Jesus and
the purpose of His mission. Let our hearts overflow in humble praise and
thanksgiving. St. Ignatius of Loyola
accentuates the fact that Jesus did all of this not simply for humanity as a
whole but for me individually. Jesus was born, suffered, died and rose from the
dead for me, as if I were the only person in the universe. How important I am
for God! How important Christmas—the
birth of Jesus—should be for me!
Bethlehem means Bread of Life--Jesus is the Bread of Life!
CHRISTMAS--- The literal
interpretation of this word is “The Mass of Christ”. The most pleasing gesture I can carry out,
the most pleasing gift I can give to Jesus, the most total way I can live out
Christmas, would be to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In the moment of Consecration in Holy Mass,
Jesus is truly born in the hands of the priest when he says: “This is my Body… this is my blood... Do this
in memory of me.” Even more, when I
receive Jesus into my heart in Holy Communion then Jesus is truly born in my
heart. The word “Bethlehem” means
“House of Bread”. My heart indeed becomes the “House of Bread” when I receive
Jesus the “Bread of Life “in Holy Communion. In reality, attending Mass daily
and receiving Holy Communion daily, I can be experiencing Christmas every day!
“REJOICE IN THE LORD!” Christmas is a time to rejoice! However true joy cannot be acquired by things
of creation, but by approaching the Creator of all things--- the God of the
universe! The third Sunday of Advent is
“Guadete” this is Latin for rejoice.
This quotation is taken from Philippians 4:4-5: “Rejoice
in the Lord; again I say, rejoice. Indeed the Lord is near.” Pleasure can
be bought with money and depends on the exterior stimulus of the senses. Joy cannot be bought with money but it can be
received freely by opening our hearts to the Holy Spirit who gives His Gifts
and fruits freely. Among the fruits of the Holy Spirit are joy, peace, patience
and chastity… Therefore, this Christmas
may our hearts be overflowing in joy; however, a joy that is based on a strong
conviction of God’s infinite love for us manifested in the Incarnation of His
Son, the Lord Jesus!
Elijah the prophet encounters God in silence!
SILENCE AND PRAYER. In the holiday season, it is all too easy to
be absorbed by an endless barrage of noise; let’s call it “Noise pollution”.
Nevertheless, for us to enter into deep contact with God, silence is an
indispensable pre-condition. Call to mind the encounter of Elijah and his
mountain experience. This great prophet
did not discover God’s voice in the storm, thunder, nor in the earthquake.
Rather, he discovered God’s voice in the whispering of the wind. The young Samuel heard the Lord’s voice in
the temple and responded: “Speak Lord
for your servant is listening.” Pope Benedict reminded the seminarians in New
York that it is indeed hard to hear the voice of the Lord because we are
bombarded by so many different noises. Call to mind one of the traditional
Christmas hymns: “Silent Night!” May our
hearts rest in the silence of Bethlehem and come to adore Him! “O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore
Him, O come let us adore Him Jesus the Lord.”
The Magi encounter Jesus in the arms of Mary!
WISE MEN STILL FIND JESUS IN THE ARMS OF
MARY. The bumper sticker on the back of
my car reads: “Wise men still find Jesus
in the arms of Mary.” Christmas would be all but incomplete if we ignored
the person and the presence of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Indeed the Season of
Advent is imbued with a Marian spirit.
December 8th the Church celebrates the patroness of the
United States of America, the Immaculate Conception. “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
Four days later, Dec 12th, the Church celebrates Our Lady of
Guadalupe. Blessed Pope John Paul II proclaimed her as the Patroness of the
Americas. Of course Christmas is the
birth of Jesus, who was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary has four unique
privileges freely given to her from an
all-generous God: her Immaculate Conception, her Perpetual Virginity, her
Assumption into heaven in body and soul, and finally her Divine Maternity. The greatest of these Marian privileges---
which are also Marian dogmas of faith—is her Divine Maternity. This means that
Mary was chosen by God to be the Mother of God. We honor this privilege every
time we pray with love, faith, and devotion the “Hail Mary”, saying, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for
us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen”. May Our Lady, the Mother of God, the Mother
of the Church, and our loving and tender Mother attain for us the most joyful,
peaceful and holy of Christmases in our
entire life! The most blessed of
Mary is the Mother of God and our Mother--Blessed and holy Christmas!