Gospel Reflections

Feast of the Nativity Vigil

Matthew 1:1-25

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Roseanne Murphy

Published: December 24, 2016


One of the great dangers of each Advent is that we tend to look at the liturgical readings as describing a rerun of an old movie. Bringing a fresh look at the Annunciation, the Nativity and Epiphany is a challenge. But, we are not the same as we have ever been before nor are the stories of Christmas as we pray over them because we bring ourselves, changed for better or worse, to those stories and that makes all the difference.

The celebration of Christ’s coming this year, in the circumstance of this time, must make this Christmas different for us. As different as if Christ is really coming again. In every country we see the “darkness” of injustice, hatred and violence. Right now, the people in the Middle East are fleeing the “land of doom”  amid the bombs and drones bringing death to them. Our faith is sorely tested as we hear “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”  and we pray for the millions suffering from war and natural disasters.  We can feel the longing for Christ to come again in our hearts and minds as we sing the beautiful hymns reminding us of the fact that “a light has shone” on us and a “Son is given to us.”  We long for the Lord “to rule the earth with justice and the peoples with his constancy.”  And in our own hearts, we sense the longing for Christ’s coming. We would love to have the angels appear to us singing, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to people of good will”  even when we do believe that Christ comes again and again through grace and Eucharist. The greater the longing we have for Christ’s coming, the more real is our understanding of our need for Christ as Savior and God-Hero, and as Prince of Peace. 

Each Midnight Mass gives us an opportunity to sing, “A Child is born for us today.  He is our Savior and our King.”  Bringing Christ to birth in us brings Christ to others as well.  So we can truly say that Christ is born for us today, and we hold Him in our hearts and lives to help turn back the darkness.  We will bring alive the story of Christmas again as we grow in Christlikeness and become “a people as his own, eager to do what is good.”  No wonder the Collect prayer begs, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and do not delay, that those who trust in your compassion may find solace and relief in your coming.”  Perhaps this is the most important Christmas we have ever had.

 

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