Christmas Eve Mass, 4:30 p.m.
Christmas Morning Mass, 10
Just in time for
today’s readings shed light on God’s identity—who is God?—
on our own identity—who are we?
These scriptures speak to us of
the mystery that we celebrate this coming
God-with-us in human
Our first reading from
starts with King David trying to put God in a box,
God-beyond-all-names speaks out:
I have been with you wherever you were;
was with you no matter what you were doing,
and I will be with you and your
from all eternity and for ever.
God is with
Paul, in our second
reading, makes clear who we are:
we are the ones with strength from
we are the ones to whom God’s mystery is revealed;
we are the ones
who give glory to God through Jesus;
we are the people of God,
praise by following the Way of Jesus.
Our identity—our very being—is part of
We are in
Then our Gospel tells
the same truth
in the story of Mary and her cousin Elizabeth,
God and women of courage,
open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
don’t see how or why, but they go ahead anyway, in trust.
They say yes to
carrying children and giving birth
in the midst of the oppression and
of the Romans who occupy their land.
They recognize God’s
alive in each other and in their children.
Not only is God with
us, God is within us.
scriptures tell us that God is with and within us,
and we are in God, always,
for ever and ever.
But that has to make sense in terms of the reality of our
The world we live in
is not always an experience of “forever”
It’s not always an experience
of God who is, who is with us,
who is within us,
and we don’t always experience ourselves as in God.
often life is made up of lost jobs, dashed hopes,
broken marriages, and aging and dying
in a world of violence and
It’s as if God has abandoned us,
like in that last line of
today’s Gospel: And the angel left
Down at Claver House
we talked about the morning news report
of the murder of a hundred
and some of the guests, haltingly at first,
talk about the horrors of the wars they had served in.
George talked of
Jim and Daniel of Viet Nam,
Chris of Afghanistan.
Yet tears came to their eyes when they remembered,
as if it were
the grief they felt 40, 50, 60 years ago.
A brother killed on
his third tour in Vietnam,
a note from his buddy
found tucked by his name
in the Memorial Wall in Washington.
The 18-year-old who took a bullet in his
the day after he arrived on the battlefield.
The chaplain reading
Last Rites over still bodies.
And the grief they still feel.
understanding how hard it is to unlearn that training to kill.
Their broken lives.
They marvel that they’re
still alive, and they are grateful.
They don’t understand how they
and some of their buddies didn’t.
In spite of it, and because of
it, they go on,
having faith that God was with them then
and is with them
and, they told me,
they believe that God remains
with and in those
who didn’t come home.
encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict wrote this:
Seeing with the eyes
I can give to others much more than their outward
I can give them the look of love which they crave.
look of love that I saw in those men Tuesday—
they listened to each other
with respect and understanding,
that look of acceptance and love that each of
In five [four]
days we’ll be celebrating the Nativity of the Lord—
Christmas with its joy
family traditions and special meals with loved ones.
in our world—and even in our family circles—
can make us question if God is
really with us and within us.
That’s why we have to see our world,
the people we meet,
with the eyes of Christ.
As much as we love our
perfect spouse and our perfects kids,
as much as we love our perfect
we have to love the in-laws and the outlaws,
the uncle with the
off-color jokes, the whiny aunt,
the inconsiderate neighbor, the judgmental
the ex-offender, the old college buddy with too much to drink.
We have to love the vet who killed in our name,
draft-dodger who left for Canada.
We are called to see our
world with the eyes of Christ,
to look on ourselves
with that look of love,
so we can know who God is
and who we
So we can see Christmas.
Holy Spirit Catholic
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Rev. Dr. Bev