December 25, 2014
Solemnity, THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD
Vigil: Is 62: 1-5 / Ps 89: 4-5, 16-17, 27, 29 (2a) / Acts 13: 16-17, 22-25 / Mt 1: 1-25
Midnight: Is 9: 1-6 / Ps 96: 1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13 / Ti 2: 11-14 / Lk 2: 1-14
Dawn: Is 62: 11-12 / Ps 97: 1, 6, 11-12/ Ti 3: 4-7 / Lk 2: 15-20
Day: Is 52: 7-10/ Ps 98: 1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6 (3c)/ Heb 1: 1-6 / Jn 1: 1-18
Reading: Is 52: 7-10
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who herald peace and happiness, who proclaim salvation and announce to Zion: "Your God is king!" Together your watchmen raise their voices in praise and song; they see Yahweh face to face returning to Zion. Break into shouts of joy, O ruins of Jerusalem, for Yahweh consoles his people and redeems Jerusalem. Yahweh has bared his holy arm in the eyes of the nations; all the ends of the earth, in alarm, will witness God's salvation.
Gospel: John 1: 1-18
In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God; he was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him and without him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be, found life in him, life which for humans was also light. Light that shines in the dark: light that darkness could not overcome. A man came, sent by God; his name was John. He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light but a witness to introduce the Light. For the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone. He was already in the world and through him the world was made, the very world that did not know him. He came to his own, yet his own people did not receive him; but all who have received him he empowers to become children of God for they believe in his Name. These are born, but without seed or carnal desire or will of man: they are born of God. And the Word was made flesh; he had his tent pitched among us, and we have seen his Glory, the Glory of the only Son coming from the Father: fullness of truth and loving-kindness. John bore witness to him openly, saying: This is the one who comes after me, but he is already ahead of me for he was before me. From his fullness we have all received, favor upon favor. For God had given us the Law through Moses, but Truth and Loving-kindness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God-the-Only-Son made him known: the one who is in and with the Father.
"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14)." God chose to cross the great divide between the divine and the human. God, in His divinity, entered the human condition. This is the story of the Incarnation – God through Jesus Christ took on fully the nature of the human person except sin, yet remaining fully divine, in order to bring God closest to us; dwelling among and in us. This is the gift of Christmas.
God fulfilled His promise of salvation to us by sending His only Son with the Spirit as pure gift. He didn't demand conditions from us for the gift of His Son, but moved with an unconditional love, He incarnated Love Himself. We celebrate the gift of Love by bringing Love through our ways of loving to everyone and anyone. And loving is easiest with people who fall within the sphere of our relationships of mutuality and co-dependency.
When is loving most difficult? Loving is difficult when we have to forgive people. Yet, forgiveness unburdens us from the anger that we harbor in our hearts. It heals us from the hurts that linger in our hearts. Forgiveness is responding to the hurt inflicted on us with love. It is a choice to incarnate love.
On this Christmas Day, we pray for the hurts in our hearts. Holding-on to our hurts has made our lives more difficult for us. It only generates anger in an ever-increasing intensity within our hearts that keep us in a fighting stance against people. With anger, it gives us an outlook in life that the world is unfair to us; and we have to protect and defend ourselves at all times and at all costs. Anger depletes our inner strength thereby depriving us from our life's interior experience of peace in mind and heart.
Anger blinds us from the opportunities of receiving love from people around us. We become suspicious of the kindness of people to us. In response, we reject the love given to us. At the depths of our anger is the reality of our hunger to beloved by people. We escape this hunger for the fear to make ourselves vulnerable with love. And today, we make the choice to let-go of our hurts and surrender our anger to the loving embrace of God. We humbly open our hearts to receive love and be loved by God.
Nevertheless, we will still experience the hurt in our hearts even when we have already forgiven people. Our hearts will always bear the memories of pain. However, our hearts have the optimal capacity to make new memories of forgiveness. Loving is a day-to-day choice. It is the foundation of healing in our hearts.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
… for families who are in need of healing
… for world peace and reconciliation
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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