Rejoice & Be Glad!

JOY TO THE WORLD; THE LORD IS COME! Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare him room, and heaven and nature sing. He rules the world with truth and grace! (Lyrics from Joy to the World)

Today, we truly rejoice as we celebrate the birth of our Savior from the Virgin Mary in the town of Bethlehem, the “House of Bread.” He, who is the Bread of Life, the Bread come down from Heaven, humbled himself and came to save us as one of us. Jesus is the Sacrificial, Unblemished Lamb who takes away the sins of the world; blessed are we who are called to his table. Blessed are we who have received His grace, we who live in faith and in the light of his love. Jesus Christ is the light, the true light that came into the world, dispelling all darkness, enlightening the People of God! Jesus Christ, the New Adam, perfected Salvation History, and began a New Reign in the Kingdom of God. We have been called to receive this child, the Word of God, who humbled himself, to be one with us, now in this life, and eternally in the life to come.

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 came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. … The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, th3 glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. … From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.” (NAB, JN 1:1-18)

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, Almighty God and Father, we worship You, we give You thanks, we praise You for Your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; You are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Click for Mass Readings.

Rojoice in the Lord!

Rejoice in the Lord, always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” (NAB, PHIL 4:4) These words from St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians call us to a life of joy. So often we see Christians, and perhaps we ourselves are guilty, of having long faces and apathetic spirits that seem miserable, with no sign or semblance of joy at all! Listen further to St. Paul: “Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (4:5-7)

The Christian identity is based in joy. At a daily Mass on May 23, 2016, Pope Francis beautifully spoke about this issue: “The identification card of a Christian is joy: the joy of the Gospel, the joy of having been elected by Jesus, saved by Jesus, regenerated by Jesus. [It is] the joy of the hope that Jesus is waiting for us, the joy that – even in the crosses and sufferings of this life – is expressed in a different way, which is having peace in the certainty that Jesus accompanies us; that He is with us.

This period of Advent waiting and preparation is the anticipating of the Christmas joy we will celebrate. We long for Emanuel, whose name means “God with us.” We will sing the great song, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” beginning this week, through Christmas. It is our prayer and our statement of faith that God is truly with us. His presence in both good times and bad, gives us, through his grace, the abiding peace to live a life of joy.

Our scripture reminds us, “the Lord is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear [because] the Lord, your God … will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love.” (ZEP 3:15, 17) As we await the coming of our Savior and the celebration of his birth in Bethlehem, let us prepare our hearts and souls to receive his presence, to realize his presence in our lives, and as the Christmas celebration approaches, may our hearts burst open with Christian joy so that WE become Joy to the world!

Heavenly Father, give me a clean heart and purify my soul, so that I may empty myself of what keeps me from you, so as to receive the incredible and indescribable gift of your Son, the infant born to Mary, Jesus, my Lord and my Savior. Let me always know your presence, so that in your peace, I may be joy in this world. Amen.

Click for Mass Readings.