My Dear Sisters and Brothers! This Holy Night of Christmas is full of angels:
- An angel appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem.
- A great throng of heavenly host praised God sinning: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace to the people who enjoy his favour.’
- The angles are sitting and standing in front of me in this church because if you have heard the message about Jesus Christ you have been also given a mission to share this message with others.
- There is also the most important angel of all in our midst, and you don’t need to look up to the sky to see him. This most important angel of all is lying in the manger.
He, Jesus Christ, doesn’t simply bring God’s message like other angels do. He is the message of God. St John the Apostle in the very first verses of his Gospel wrote: ‘The Word was made flesh and lived among us.’ If I was thrilled to have been given the piece of paper with Merry Christmas written on it I am amazed and in awe when I look at this little Baby Boy Jesus lying in the manger. To announce the message of his salvation God the Father hasn’t made noise that could overpower the noises which surround us and to make sure we hear it. To announce the message of his salvation God the Father hasn’t made billions of pamphlets to cover streets and squares, hills and valleys, where we live to make sure we read it. To announce the message of salvation God the Father has given us his Son Jesus so that Jesus could have us in his life, in his life which is so divine that it embraced our fragile humanity.
We are still familiar with face masks, aren’t we? From today we must wear them again indoors. Face masks have become a part of our life and a reminder of the pandemic which has changed our way of living so much. Recently I came across a very much up-to-date angel. It was an angel made of two face masks. This angel doesn’t seem to come from heaven. However I see him coming to us out of our own hopes as well as fear and frustration caused by the pandemic which face masks symbolise. This angel made of face masks provides us also with a profound Christian reflection on Jesus, the most important angel of all. The humanity which Jesus, the Holy God, has embraced wasn’t some idealistic, and therefore unrealistic, reality. It has been humanity which has it all: our human high and lows, our joys and sorrows, our achievements and failures, our hopes and despairs, our love and hatred, our life and death. When we remember our saints we discover that they came from all sorts of human conditions: reach and poor, healthy and sick, advanced in years and very young, priests, brothers and nuns, single people and married people, well known and hardly known. However in their lives the grace of God made man transformed their existence into God-like life.
The children of our parish who have been coming to the manger filled it with their little letters for Jesus. They read: I love you Jesus. When I was here with the youngest children from our school some of them asked me: ‘How do you spell: Jesus?’ Cn you spell it yourself? J-E-S-U-S. How beautiful this name is. In this name there is our salvation, our peace, our joy and our future. I give you now a quiet moment to say in your heart what the children have written: Jesus I love you…. Now say it loudly: Jesus I love you.