Emmanuel - God with us!
The Lord of the universe gifted his divine Son into our world to bring us his love, truth and saving grace. This is what we need more than anything else, God’s gift of salvation found in Jesus Christ – the Living Bread from heaven – who comes to us through the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Holy Mother Church.
Mary’s “Yes” to God’s initiative nine months before Jesus’ nativity – celebrated as the Annunciation – is the beginning of the clear unfolding of our salvation in Jesus Christ. God sent his angel Gabriel to Mary to announce that she would be the mother of God’s divine Son. Mary gave her consent saying, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” (See Luke 1:26-38)
Then, the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and the Eternal Word – God the Son who is pure spirit – entered the womb of Mary and took on our human nature, being named Jesus at his birth on the first Christmas. He is the Eternal Son of God and the historical son of Mary; a divine person who has taken on our human nature.
18 days after the divine Son entered the womb of Mary, his newly formed heart began to beat below his mother’s heart. Similarly, your heart began to beat be-low your mother’s heart 18 days after your conception.
From that moment, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ beat to the holy rhythm of life completely united to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For nine months the King of the Universe grew as a human wrapped in the pure womb of the virgin Queen – this is the Mystery of the Incarnation – God in human flesh.
By uniting human nature to his divine nature, Jesus Christ unites us to God the Father through the Sacrament of Baptism into his family, the Catholic Church. We become God’s adopted children and are empowered to follow God’s Ten Commandments of life, love and freedom, and so grow in saving grace by the worthy reception of the other essential seven sacraments until we attain the ultimate goal of heaven.
The heart of the Christmas message is this: God became a baby through Mary, the perfect human person and Christian disciple, so that we might know God’s tender love, and how precious and vulnerable his sanctifying grace is for us. We must daily care for this divine grace in our soul as a mother and father care for their infant. Every father and mother, like Joseph and Mary, delight in nurturing and protecting their child and God’s grace within every baptized child.
Thirty-three years after being fed by the Blessed Virgin Mary and laid on the wood of the crib in the City of Bethlehem – a name which means “house of bread” – Jesus Christ gave the supreme gift of his divine and human life in the Eucharist to his faithful Apostles at the Last Supper, the First Mass, and then he freely laid
his life down on the wood of the cross – to extend to us the gift of salvation.
On “Christ Mass”, with Mary and all the angels and Saints, we celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth in the “Mass of Christ” – Christmas. At every Sunday Mass and obligatory solemnity, like Christmas and All Saints Day (Nov. 1), we are called to worship God with praise and thanksgiving, and grow into the holy men and women God wants us to be. Our love and faithfulness in becoming Saints of God is our gift back to God, as well as to our family, friends, country and world.
With the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s perfect prayers and example, and the other Saints, we can receive the saving grace and truth of Jesus Christ in the sacraments and have new divine life born within our soul, and so rejoice: Mary, Christ, Mass! Merry Christmas!
Peace in Christ,
Fr. Thomas McCabe