My Dear Sisters and Brothers celebrating the Nativity of Our Blessed Lord! As I was walking away from the happy girl I realised that two of us had something in common. Both of us ignored that beautiful ocean surrounding as both of us were appreciating and rejoicing at being in the presence of persons loving us. For the little girl it was their parents. For me it was Jesus. Thinking about that encounter I had a few days ago I take it as an early Christmas present which my Lord has given me through the ministry of that child. It is the gift of faith which makes Jesus as real to me as the mother and father were to my converser.
Isaiah enlightened by the Holy Spirit prophesied as we could hear in our First Reading: “The people that walked in darkness, has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.” There is darkness and shadow marking this planet of ours, in fact still marking the life of so many women, men and even children, despite living in 21st century. The hope, faith and love which Jesus brings are the gifts still needed and, believe me, still desired. However the Lord Jesus has something to offer even to the people like us here in Australia, where it seems to be that we have everything. Where it is believed that what we possess or what we can achieve is a public secret for joy, peace and happiness. Let’s listen again to Isaiah who speaks to those who trust in their possessions and achievements: “You have made their gladness greater, you have made their joy increase.” Why? Is it because the Lord has given us more possessions and success? The prophet who longed to see the Messiah explained the reason for this greater gladness and increased joy: “They rejoice in your presence.” What Isaiah longed to see, happened that night which we commemorate at this Eucharist. The night when the Lord of heaven and earth came to aid of our unbelief and upon his birth revealed himself as the One desired by the nations and generations. However his logic didn’t correspond with the logic of the big and mighty of this world. He didn’t send his angels to royal courts or to the then mass media to trumpet his coming. On the contrary he who was born in Bethlehem sent his angels to the people who had no voice in the society, to the shepherds, because Jesus wasn’t counting on making an impression but he was drawing the poor and lowly to be loved by him and to love him in in return. “Do not be afraid - speaks the angel. - Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord.” Angels are truly great friends of ours because they rejoice at our wellbeing. They were overjoyed when they could announce that the Lord of heaven and earth didn’t want to play hide and seek but he took the first step to approach us, his people.
My Dear Fellow Believers! As you will be returning home after this Eucharist, and making plans for the New Year, take with you, I beg you, what the Angel said to the shepherds, that the joy we celebrate at this Mass of Christmas is “to be shared by the whole people.” You and I don’t need the Channel 7 or 10 to announce it. Remember the happy girl I met last week and tell people you meet: I am happy because Jesus is with me.