Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) – Vigil Mass
God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus. (Acts 13:23)
With great joy I welcome all of you to the Vigil Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord!
First of all, I would like to share this with our children and youths: Our names are important. The name signifies to others an identity. Expectant parents spend months selecting the perfect name for their child. Your name — I am sure — was chosen by your parents/grandparents. Maybe your parents consulted friends and relatives. My grandparents had a great influence in naming me at my birth. I was conceived during the time of war and my family wanted my name to be a sign of hope, a “green forest,” for our family. I am sure that each of you have a name that means a great deal to your family.
Mary and Joseph also experienced something similar when they were about to welcome new life into their family. The Gospel tells us that the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him “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” (Mt 1:20-21). JESUS means HE SAVES HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS. The name JESUS signifies the identity and mission of the Infant Child born of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is the reason we call upon this name with reverence and love. When we call upon JESUS, we adore God, who entered our world as an Infant Child born of Mary! This is the joy of Christmas my dear children and young adults.
Tonight as we celebrate the fact that God crossed into our world as JESUS, we are called to cross into God’s world (divine life) through JESUS as well. What does this crossing from our world into God’s world mean? We are called to be friends and disciples of the Lord. We know that friendship emerges, grows, and strengthens when we spend time together. We spend time with the Lord when we are in prayer and serve others. As Catholics, one thing that cannot be omitted in cultivating our friendship with JESUS is to be faithful to Sunday Mass because at every Mass bread and wine are consecrated and become the Body and Blood of Christ. Christ is truly present in Eucharist! Receiving Him in Holy Communion, He takes us by the hands and journeys with us in this world and when our earthly life is completed, He will lead us to heaven, where we experience the fullness of the divine life and rejoice for all of eternity.
Dear parishioners and friends, what I share with the children and young adult of the parish, I extend to all of you! The joy of Christmas is an invitation for us to cross from our world into the world of God through JESUS. I greet all of you in the name of Lord whose birth we celebrate today. Especially, I appeal to visitors who only celebrate the Eucharist with us on special occasions such as Christmas: Each one of us is special to JESUS for HE CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE ALL. You are special to the Lord! Spend time with Him around the altar every Sunday, this is where He nourishes and refreshes your soul. May this Christmas be an invitation to all of us to deepen our friendship with the Lord so that in the words of the prophet Isaiah in the first reading today apply to us all: “You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD, a royal diadem in the hand of your God” (Is 62:3).
Merry Christmas to all!
Reading 1 Is 62:1-5; Responsorial Psalm Ps 89:4-5,16-17, 27, 29; Reading 2 Acts 13:16-17, 22-25; Alleluia Verse “Tomorrow the wickedness of the earth will be destroyed: the Savior of the world will reign over us;” Gospel Mt 1:1-25