Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and no doubt your tree and homes are decorated, Christmas cards already in the mail, manger scene prominently displayed, gifts purchased and wrapped, and cookies baked. The air is filled with excitement and anticipation. Today’s readings, however, cause us to stop and take a deeper look at the true meaning of Christmas.
Today’s gospel speaks of the circumcision of John the Baptist. He is the prophet who, drawing us back to Isaiah, cries out in the desert, preparing the way for another much greater than himself. His was message of metanoia. If you have two tunics, give one to someone who has none; share your food with the hungry. He proclaimed a baptism of repentance in preparation for the coming of the messiah.
That messiah that John prophesized has come. The message he proclaimed, the same today as it was two thousand years ago, was one of the limitless love of God for his creation and “the respect and honor due to each human person as a child of God called to contribute significantly to building fraternity and defending justice” (Fratelli tutti, # 271).
As John announced the first coming of Jesus, we are called to be heralds of his second coming. Jesus told us what the full realization of the kingdom would be like. The poor would be fed, prisoners and the sick visited, the naked clothed, strangers and refugees welcomed, the thirsty quenched. For it was such as these that Jesus clearly identified as his presence among us. So as gather to commemorate the birth of Jesus, we are called, demanded, to care for the least among us who are truly the real presence of God among us. We thereby help to realize the eucharistic kingdom among us.
Today try to do one act of kindness that brings light and love to someone who is hungry, suffering, or lonely.
Let Us Pray:
God of all creation, each time we celebrate the Eucharist, we are fed by word and sacrament to be a sacrament of your love to those around us. Empower us with your grace to, like John the Baptist, proclaim the reign of God by what we say and what we do. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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