Pastor’s Reflection for December 18, 2016

Dear Parishioners,

Next Sunday, we celebrate the Feast of Christmas, the day that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, was born.  Some might ask, “Do we really need a Saviour?”  The response is simple.  Just look around, open a newspaper or turn on the T.V.  We see violence, racism, terrorism, murder, unrest, and many other evils saturating our world.  If we look into our own lives, we find jealousy, selfishness, gossip, grudges, and other such vices.  Yes, we undeniably need a Saviour.  Fortunately for us, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son (John 3:16).  From the very beginning, God created us to be in an intimate relationship with Him but the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve, severed that relationship, death came upon us and we became slaves to sin.  When you remove a branch from a tree, death comes upon the branch.  We resemble the branch with God as the vine (John 15:5).  Death came upon us because of sin (Romans 6:23).  God did not want this to be our fate so He sent Jesus to restore our relationship.  Jesus came for two primary purposes.  The first was to ransom us from death by paying the price of our salvation through His death on the cross.  We see a foreshadowing of this in our nativity scene. The baby lying in the manger with arms outstretched will become the man with arms outstretched on the cross.  Jesus satisfied the justice of God while we received His mercy, the forgiveness of our sins.  The second reason Jesus came to earth was to enable us to be children of God.  At Baptism, we are born again, adopted by God as His beloved children.  We receive the Holy Spirit that empowers us to turn away from evil and to live in the ways of love.  Christmas is a revelation of God’s love and mercy.  We still live in a world where there is good and evil but we have Emmanuel, “God is with us,” as our Shepherd to lead His children home to eternal life.

Christmas is a time for giving gifts.  Some will say that it brings to mind the gifts of the Magi who came to the crib of Jesus.  This is why in some cultures, gift giving is done on the Feast of the Epiphany.  Of all the gift giving, however, it is God the Father who gives the greatest gift, His Son Jesus.  We now have the hope of eternal life in heaven.

We should remember Christmas is a great event for all peoples.  We are not to see it as just a reminder of some historical occasion.  Christmas is to be relived in our own lives.  Our hearts are to be the manger in which Jesus is born anew into our lives.  He wants to come to us with His power to heal, love and to free us from our sinful ways and embrace His Peace.

May we revere the great gift of heaven this Christmas.  May we truly acknowledge this awesome blessing.  We will enter the heavenly gates not by something we did to earn or deserve eternal life but we go in as a guest of Jesus.  He paid for our salvation.  It is ours if we accept it and we do so by walking the path that will bring us home; by loving God as our first and primary relationship and loving the people that come into our lives every day.

Remember as we celebrate this great feast to Keep Christ in Christmas for He is truly the reason for this season.  I wish you all a “Merry and blessed Christmas.”

I will be available for confession this week on Monday, December 19, from 7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and on Tuesday, December 20, from 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

May Jesus continue to shepherd you in all of your needs.         

 God love you,