Christmas Vigil Mass

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The most familiar and happy words of Christmas are found in the Gospel that we just heard. I would like to reflect with you this Christmas over the wonders in the text: (Lk 2:11)

It Was a Real Day

“For today . . .” (verse 11). It happened on a day. A day in history. Not a day in some mythological, imaginary story, but a day when “Caesar Augustus was the emperor of Rome and Quirinius was governor of Syria. “It was a day planned in eternity before the creation of the world. Indeed the whole universe — with untold light-years of space and billions of galaxies — was created and made glorious for this day and what it means for human history. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16). For him! For his appearance. For this day of his appearing. “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4). It happened on a day. The perfect day. In the fullness of time. The perfect time appointed by God before the foundation of the world. “For unto you is born this day!”

It Was a Real City

“. . . in the city of David.” It happened in a city. Not in Narnia. Not in Middle Earth. Not in a galaxy far away. It happened in a city about 7,000 miles from Minneapolis. The city still exists today. This city is real. The city’s name is Bethlehem (Luke 2:4, “Joseph also went up from Galilee . . . to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem.”) Bethlehem, six miles from Jerusalem. Bethlehem, the city where Jesse lived, the father of David, the great king of Israel. Bethlehem, the city that Micah prophesied over: But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. (Micah 5:2). It happened in a city. A real city, just like Aberdeen or Hoquiam.

Savior, Christ, Lord

“. . . a Savior . . .” “For today in the city of David a Savior.” A Savior. If you have ever sinned against God you need a Savior. The angel said to Joseph, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Only God can forgive sins against God. That is why God sent the eternal Son of God into the world, because he is God. That’s why Jesus said, “The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Therefore, a Savior was born.

“. . . who is Christ . . .” Christ is the English for Christos, which is means “anointed one,” which is the meaning of “Messiah” (John 1:41; 4:25). This is the one long-predicted, long-awaited, the one anointed above all others (Psalm 45:7). The final anointed King. The final anointed Prophet. The final anointed Priest. In him all the promises of God are yes! (2 Corinthians 1:20). He would fulfill all the hopes and dreams of godly Israel. And more, vastly more. Because he is also . . .

“. . . the Lord.”  The ruler, the sovereign, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father. The Lord of the universe.

Two Great Purposes for This Great News

The joyful news that on a day, at the perfect fullness of time, in the perfect prophesied city, a Savior was born, who was Christ, the Lord — that news has two great outcomes. Two great purposes. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

God’s Glory and Our Peace

First and foremost, God is glorified because this child is born. And second, peace is to spread everywhere this child is received. These are the great purposes for the coming of Jesus: Glory ever-ascending from man to God. Peace ever-descending from God to man. God’s glory sung out among men for the sake of his name. God’s peace lived out among men for the sake of his name.

Three Relationships of Peace

My great desire for you this Christmas is that you enjoy this peace. Peace with God- Peace with Ourselves -Peace with Others

Merry Christmas!

Posted in Messages from Fr. Francis