Theme: “All things came into being through him” (John 1:3)
How is this Christmas Day 2019 for you? Has the Lord done anything special for you alone in 2019? Has the Lord done anything special for a member of your family this year? Has the Lord done anything special for anyone in your network throughout 2019?
First Reading: Isaiah 52.7-10
What do we do when all we try to build up falls apart: dreams, work, relationships, family ties, faith and future? This Christmas Day, the prophet Isaiah announces good news. He says the Lord comforts the ruins of Jerusalem, and every nation shall see the saving works of the Lord:
“Break forth together into singing, you ruins of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”(Isaiah 52:9-10)
We, adopted faith members of Jerusalem, are comforted too, although we might be experiencing some sort of ruin in some of the things we built up.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98.1, 2-3a, 3b-4, 5-6 The responsorial psalm for Christmas Day confirms that the Lord has done marvelous things, and for sure the Lord will do other marvelous things for us. Do we notice anything the Lord has done for us, or for anyone in our life? Perhaps, the Lord has given a special gift to someone during this Christmas season or during 2019. Maybe the Lord has answered the prayers of someone whose dreams have been ruined. For these gifts and other saving works of God, the Psalmist says:
“O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have brought him victory. “(Psalm 98:1)
Second Reading: Hebrews 1.1-6 If we combine the First Reading of Christmas Day and Responsorial Psalm with the Second Reading of Christmas Day, we get the insight that in addition to the marvelous works and deeds of the Lord throughout the ends of the world, the Lord has also spoken “in many and various”:
“Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.” (Hebrew 1:1-2)
Why is the Lord speaking “in many and various ways” when most of us are just looking for one way that we expect Him to speak to us, and that is all? Perhaps, the Lord is using several or multiple ways to build up something special for each one of us. Maybe the Lord is using many ways to build up an aspect of our life that is falling apart. The letter to Hebrews reiterates that the Lord finally speaks to us “by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2). Given that Jesus Christ is the heir of all things, God is reclaiming everything through him. This is why the birth of the Jesus Christ is the occasion to sing that our God reigns (Isaiah 52: 7) over everything.
Gospel: John 1:1-18 The Gospel of Christmas Day affirms that in the beginning all things came into being through Jesus Christ (John 1:2). This means that through Jesus Christ all things can again come into being today and in the future:
“He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life,and the life was the light of all people. (John 1:2-4)
This Christmas Day 2019, let us celebrate the great and wonderful works of the Lord for each one of us.
We are two weeks to Christmas. Some people might be so happy because everything is going well for them as planned or as hoped. Others might start to lose hope because of too many things to do in little time. Whatever our situation is, the third Sunday of Advent invites us to refocus the goal and purpose of Christmas: God is following his plan for our ultimate happiness. That is why the third Sunday of Advent is Gaudate week, because we can rejoice that when the plan is in the hands of God, then all will be well.
First Reading: Isaiah 35.1-6a, 1
In case our joy begins to dry out like a desert during the third Sunday of Advent because of the twists and turns in our ways, Isaiah reminds us that the Lord will refill our life so that we can rejoice, blossom and be glad: “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly…And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:1;10).
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 146.6c-7, 8-9a, 9b-10
The Psalmist reassures us that God keeps his promises. If there is a time to rely on the Lord’s promises, this is the time because: “It is the Lord who keeps faith forever, The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations” (Psalm 146:6;10).
Second Reading: James 5.7-10
In case we wish things get faster for us, let us remember to be moderate and patient in our expectations. Let us be patient with the Lord’s promises. St. James says: “You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near” (James 5:8).
Gospel: Matthew 11.2-11
Like the disciples of Jesus, when we go out this third week, what do we expect to see? “Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’” (Matthew 11:7-10)
In this Gaudate week of Advent, let us allow the Lord to be in charge of the plan so that he can renew our joy as we prepare for the Nativity of the Lord. Let us focus on the Lord and his plans.
Assembly of Québec Catholic Bishops on the occasion of the 2018 Québec General Elections