Good News on Jesus Birthday

25 12 2008

Luke 2: 15-20

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God  for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

The Daily Path: On this day of celebration I pray that all who attend Mass will be deeply touched by Jesus and inspired by the Spirit to return again on Sunday. And the following Sunday. And the Sunday after that. And again. And again. 

A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

No Room At The Inn – Good News for December 24

24 12 2008

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 Daily Path: Last night my children and I were driving through Oakland heading to Alameda, the city where I grew up. We were on our way to pick up my parents and continue our decades old  family tradition of driving around town looking at the colorful lights and Christmas decorations. Freeway traffic was backed up so I took an alternate route through downtown Oakland. 

At a stop light I happened to glance over at the entrance of a city administration building near the police station. At the top of the stairs were two homeless people. One had climbed out of a wheel chair and was already in his sleeping bag. The other was preparing his own bed by wrapping himself in a blanket on this frosty night. 

“She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

As the hustle and bustle of Christmas went on all about them, there was no room at the inn for these two souls. I wondered what set of circumstances led them to their current situation. While I was feeling great joy in anticipation of our family Christmas tradition, these two could look forward to a cold night sleeping on concrete and the slim margin of safety this public manger offered. Thousands would drive by them this night. Would anyone give them a second thought? Where would the joy of Our Lord’s coming be for them?

I’d like to think that if I was a shepherd in the hills surrounding Bethlehem some two thousand years ago, I would have harkened the angels call and gone to the manger to praise the Baby Jesus. But on this night, two of God’s children lay in the cold, yet I continued tending my own flock. 

“And this will be a sign for you:  you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

My friends, on this holiest of nights in the Christian tradition, make room in your heart for all of God’s children. Lord, please keep them safe in your love and mercy.

No Fear – Good News for December 18

18 12 2008

Matthew 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.  When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.  Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,  “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.  For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.  She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” 

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus. 

The Daily Path: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid…” I wish God had a few more angels to deliver these clear messages and keep this husband and father headed in the right direction.