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Our Family and the Coming of Christ

(Is 52.7-10; Heb 1.1-6; Jn 1.1-18)

For many of us Christmas is largely about family reunions and holidays. When we do stop to reflect a moment on the original Christmas it is often about a new baby, shepherds coming in from the snow and wise men arriving from the East. Hidden somewhere in the background is the knowledge that kings and rulers are also seeking this baby – to eliminate him as a risk to their power and control.

Though the Masses at night and dawn pick up these themes in the gospel readings, the solemn Mass at daytime makes a remarkable leap. When John wrote this preface to his gospel it was about 40-50 years after the death of Jesus. Small Christian communities were scattered all over Asia Minor, some in Europe, and a few evangelizers were voyaging even further; despite fierce persecutions Christ’s presence and power could not be contained nor confined.

After long years of reflection John could see that this tiny baby was the one through whom all things came into existence (1.10); he was the light that would illuminate every nation on earth (1.9); he radiated the grace and truth of God (1.14) and revealed the face of God to all the world. (1.15)

As we reflect upon a difficult and even painful year we can resonate with the ambiguity of God’s presence in our world. Families are divided, weather grows ever more unpredictable and dangerous, men of power still concoct plans that threaten innocent lives. On the other hand, acts of sacrifice and generosity abound, families leap across continents to join in love, and saints are still being born in the most dire of sufferings.

Christmas Day Mass

This Sunday