Sisters and Brothers! Today it is the last day. You may think that I got it wrong as yesterday was the last day of 2013 but today it is the last day of the Octave of Christmas. We began the Octave on December 25 and until today we have kept celebrating the mystery of the Lord’s Nativity. As it is said: if there is a good party you want to keep it going for a long time. What can be a better reason to celebrate than to celebrate God’s story among us his people? That’s why the Church has got this Octave so that the story of Christmas can be revisited to engage us more deeply. After 8 days from Christmas Day we return with the shepherds to the Manger because the Christmas story isn’t simply thrilling but because it is the story of our past being reconciled with God, our present day filled with God’s presence and our future which is all about being united with Him for all eternity.
St Paul in his Letter to the Galatians writes: “When the appointed time came, God sent his Son to enable us to be adopted as sons. The proof that you are sons is that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries: “Abba, Father.” I have heard people reading this passage and changing it to: “to enable us to be adopted as sons and daughters.” It may sound more inclusive and politically correct but it loses the excitement of St Paul who was so overwhelmed by being adopted as a God’s child that Paul didn’t think about being inclusive and politically correct but he was just shouting, proclaiming the message about God adopting humans as his children. As the Jewish Rabbi I mentioned at the beginning was telling the story of his mentor with such engagement that he overcame his disability when he was telling about the greatness of his teacher whom he admired so much as St Paul was telling the story of his teacher and mentor, his great master – Jesus Christ with similar engagement. As we arrive at this last day of the Christmas Octave which also the first day of 2014 I pray so that we may return to our homes with the story of Christ pulsating in us with such intensity that we cannot withhold it and like the shepherds we may live 2014 glorifying and praising God and telling everyone about our teacher and master – JESUS CHRIST. May the miracle of the Rabbi, who was so engaged in the story of his teacher and it overcame his weakness, happen to us too. May we tell the Story of Jesus with such engagement that what we are telling touches and heals us first.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.