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The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Mass During the Day - Dec 25, 2014


Gospel JN 1:1-18


In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

Or JN 1:1-5, 9-14

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.

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Reflecting & Living God’s Words


The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) Mass During the Day - Dec 25, 2014
(Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-6; John 1:1-18)

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The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) Mass During the Day


(Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-6; John 1:1-18)


Aren’t people, especially children who come to Mass on Christmas Day, going to be disappointed when they hear today’s gospel? Where are the angels, the shepherds, the newborn, with his mother and father? And let’s not forget the stable with the animals? Instead, we get a rather abstract-sounding passage from St. John’s gospel about the Word becoming flesh. Hardly the making of a Christmas card!

Remember the last birthday party you went to? No matter the age of the person whose life you were celebrating, those gathered for the occasion did not celebrate the person as they once were, an infant, but as the person they were on the day of the birthday party. Not so for Jesus. Each Christmas we replay his infancy and we call on Luke and Matthew to provide some backdrop for the story. Both of these gospels have dark hints of future troubles for the new-born, but we brush over them and look at the warm features of the these two gospels.

Mark doesn’t have the birth narrative, nor does he provide background material for Jesus. Instead, his gospel begins with the preaching of John the Baptist. John doesn’t begin with traditional-sounding infancy narratives either. His introduction to the gospel narrative, which we hear today, might shake up some of our sentimental thoughts and images.

I remember a painting of the young Jesus in the carpentry shop with Joseph. They were shown working on two pieces of wood. The two pieces formed a cross. Even in this seeming-tranquil setting of a father teaching his son his trade, there were hints of what waited the boyish carpenter – the cross. Today’s gospel presents a similar sober view of what lies ahead for the reader of John’s Gospel. "He was in the world and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to his own, but his own people did not accept him."

We risk being a Scrooge at a Christmas party here. But we need John’s help to catch our attention and clear up our vision of the one whose birth we celebrate today. The infant in the crib makes for lovely Christmas cards and delights children. But we readers of this gospel have lives that are sometimes gritty and messy. For these lives we adults need to be reminded of the gift and the challenge the Word-made-flesh offers our lives.

We celebrate the birth and the presence in the world of Jesus Christ today. He is not an infant, but is the Risen Lord in our midst. John reminds us that there were those who did not accept him, even among his own people who were waiting, as the prophet Isaiah promised, for the restoration of Zion. In the opening verses John anticipates the one who came among us, lived our life, preceded us in death and now offers us new life – "from his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace…."

We are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ whose life did not end in the tomb. He was raised from the dead. Now he offers us "grace and truth" by revealing the love God has for us. We are happy Christ was born. We are happy he bore our life and was faithful to God and to us to the end. Today we rejoice for the One who is among us now, enabling us to live his life of compassion and kindness to the least. He has commanded us to love one another has made it possible for us because, "From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace…."

We are among those who have accepted the light that has come into the world and are thankful for what he accomplished and made possible for us. He holds out hope and the promise that there is more life for us to share, more challenges for us to face and more good we can do, because the "Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."

The baby in the crib has grown up and challenges many of our world’s values. Will we face and attempt to live the new life he offers us, or will we sentimentalize him and keep him forever in the crib, a lovable child who has little influence on us and our world?

Fr. Jude Siciliano, OP