posted on December 21, 2017 14:37
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Merry Christmas! To us is born a savior, Christ the Lord!
Our celebration of Christmas marks our history. Two thousand years ago, when Jesus was born, it was the first time ever in history when God became one of us. God the Son became man so that we might have eternal life with the Lord in heaven. We are not alone! God is one with us in our darkness and struggles. He has walked in our shoes, ate with us, taught us about our capacity for greatness in God, and shown us the way to heaven, through Himself. Our salvation from sin and death comes from this newborn child, the anointed messiah, prophesied to bring us salvation.
Think of all that is to come for baby Jesus: He will grow in His humanity, always aware of His divinity but never in competition with it, fully God and fully human. He will be a child and student of Mary at Nazareth, where He will excel in the ways of deep prayer and relationship to His Heavenly Father. He will learn to work side-by-side with Joseph as a tekton (Greek for “one who labors with his hands”) until the age of thirty. Then, for three short years, He will begin His mission toward Jerusalem, selecting disciples to accompany him, while performing miracles of healing, forgiveness of sins, and even raising people from the dead. When teaching, His words will be listened to with anticipation and wonder, “how does he know all this?” as one who speaks with authority, as if He were perhaps even God himself. In truth He was, and is, and is to come. It is with confidence then, that He takes on the sins of God’s people, calling them to conversion of life to Himself. In the end, His words and works are too much for His listeners. Out of fear and a lack of understanding what is really at stake, they will kill him. Jesus, however, will not be silenced, even by death. Sin is overcome. Death is destroyed. And, we are invited to share in His victory.
Jesus’ mission is to save souls and sanctify them. Our mission is to join Him, to become like our master. Do you see yourself as a full disciple of Christ? Do you see yourself as someone sharing in the mission of Jesus, to actively pursue those who are lost, broken, wounded by sin; to help them experience God’s forgiveness, to heal their brokenness, to bind their wounds and to care for their needs? Your mission ground is the family you have, the place where you work, the people that you encounter each day, the events you attend, the tragedies that you experience, the joys that you celebrate. These places and people are the place where Jesus wants to go, and you are His instrument. Are you equipped for this mission? Do you study the ways of your master? Do you see the world through His eyes, hear with His ears, speak with His words? Your story is History. His story has not ended but continues through ours. Christ Jesus gave us the Church to equip His disciples for mission. It is there that we study our Master, learn how to live as His disciples, and commune with Him in Eucharist before being sent out on mission again.
This Christmas, I pray that the arrival of Jesus sparks within each of us a renewed calling to the mission of Christ, to save souls together as disciples of Emmanuel, God-with us.