Christmas (Mass during the day)

We were all made to know and to love God.  Love is the purpose of our lives.  Apart from God, life becomes a meaningless search for fulfillment.  Ever since sin entered the world, the purpose for which we were created has become more obscure.  Sin darkens the intellect and weakens the will; sin makes it more difficult to see the things of God.  Jesus Christ is the Light of the world; He is the Light that scatters the darkness.  On Christmas, we celebrate the fact that Our God became a man and dwelt among us.  He came to dwell among us as a man in order to reveal God to us: that is what we mean when we say that He is the Light of the world.  Jesus Christ sheds light upon Who God IS, who we are, and how we are to connect with God.

Jesus is God and He fully reveals God to us.  In the Old Testament, God spoke in partial and various ways through the Prophets, yet that message was veiled.  In the fullness of time, God sent His Son.  The Eternal Son of God became a man, like us in all things except sin, in order to fully reveal God to us.  Jesus teaches us Who God IS by His actions, by His teachings and ultimately by His death upon the Cross.  When you look at a Crucifix, you are looking at how much God loves you.  He loves you so much that He would allow His Son to die in order to save you.  Jesus Christ loves you so much that He willingly laid down His life for each one of you.

Jesus also reveals who we are.  God created us all and He made us in His own image and likeness.  And we know that God IS love.  Before the world began, from all eternity, God has existed as a community of Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We, who are made in His image and likeness, are also made to be in community with others.  We were made in the image of Love and we were made for love.  We know that after God created man He said that it was not good for the man to be alone.  We were made to know and love God; we were made to love others.  We become most fully what we were created to be when we love God with all our hearts and when we love others.  When we love, we are a clearer image of God.  Jesus summed up all the commandments with two commands: that we are to love God above all things and love others as ourselves.  These two most important commandments are really only trying to get us to live in the way that we created to live: in the image and likeness of love.

Jesus teaches us how to connect with God.  He taught many things and He gave proof of His authority to teach by the miracles He performed.  He taught that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for another: and He did just that.  He laid down His life to show you that He loves you more than you could ever imagine.

Jesus revealed that God is Our Father; God loves us and wants us to return that love.  Jesus taught us that we are to put God first in our lives.  The first of the Ten Commandments tells us that we are not to put anything before the Lord.  The Ten Commandments are not just arbitrary restrictions on my freedoms.  The Ten Commandments were given to get us to live according to the way that we were made.  If we loved God and neighbor the way that we were supposed to, we would not need Commandments forbidding us to do certain things.  If we had perfect love for God and for our neighbor, we would already be fulfilling the Law.  We need Commandments in order to help us to live in the way that we were created.

It is sometimes said that we were made with a God-sized hole in our hearts.  Nothing in this world will ever satisfy our hearts, because they were made for God and God is infinite: He is greater than everything in this world.  We can try to put all kinds of material things into this hole in our hearts, but they will never be satisfied.  Just look at any number of famous people in our own culture: actors and actresses, sports figures and others.  If God is not a part of their lives they usually get into a lot of trouble.  Why?  They have money and fame.  They seem to have everything that a person could want.  It doesn’t matter how much money you have, you will always want more.  We can be tempted to think that if only we had more, then we would be happy.  Then we get more and we want even more.  What our hearts were made for the Infinite.  Nothing finite, no created thing, can ever truly fulfill them.  Only one thing can give me lasting peace and true joy in this world: being connected to the Lord.

The Lord also knew that we have a weak and fallen nature which is inclined towards sin.  That is why He gave us extra help: Jesus gave us the Sacraments as visible channels of His grace.  The Sacraments enable us to participate in the very life and love of God.  Through Baptism, we become adopted sons and daughters of God; we become temples of the Holy Spirit and sharers in the divine life of God.  In the Eucharist, God feeds us with Himself; in the confessional, we are restored to that share in God’s life whenever we have lost it through sin.

Jesus Christ came into the world and was born in a manger over two thousand years ago, in order to show us the Way to the Father.  Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  He is the Light of the world: the Light that shines in the darkness.  Let us continue to open wide our hearts to the Lord during this Christmas season and allow His light to illumine our lives and His Spirit to inflame our hearts with love for God and love for others.  May God bless you and your families.  Merry Christmas!