The Nativity of the Lord
           December 25, 2022

                                                                                                       Fr. Josť Maria de Sousa Alvim Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B.
                                                                                                                           Pastor of the Church of St. Peter
                                                                                                                               North St. Paul, Minnesota

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Sunday Reading Meditations

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shown" (Is 9:1). 

Christmas is a mystery of light.  Jesus' birth in Bethlehem brings new light and glory to the world and our lives, creating a family, a new home and relationships relationships illuminated by grace.  St. Bernard wrote: "The incarnation teaches us how much God cares for us and what he thinks and feels about us? (Sermon 1 in Epiphania Domini).

The birth of Jesus is the fulfillment of the Scripture, cosmos, history and all desire.

Subsequent to original sin, Adam and Eve fell into a darkness characterized by fear, shame, isolation and a false image of God as an adversary.  They were hiding from each other and from God: "The LORD God then called to the man and asked him: 'Where are you?'  He answered, 'I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid'" (Gen 3:9-10).

Fear, shame and isolation are poisons that the ancient serpent injected into our hearts, Jesus came to conquer fear with faith, shame with hope and isolation with love.

Christmas proclaims that God has come to rescue us!  No more darkness: "(...) the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has nt overcome it" (Jn 1:5)

In a famous sermon, Pope Saint Leo the Great said: "Christian, remember your dignity (...) Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of god's kingdom" (Sermo 1 in Nativitate Domini).  Our encounter with Christ restores our dignity as beloved sons and daughters of god, breaking us free from any false identities.  We are enslaved no longer!

God's light heals us from brokenness.  God's love restores us and gives us new hearts.  If we are receptive to God's light, we are transformed into God's children: "But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God" (Jn 1:12).  Through baptism, we have become a truly new creation and received a superabundance of gifts: "From his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace" (Jn 1:16).

The world is in darkness.  We need God's light.  To bring light into the world is the mission of the Church.  We are called to build a family, a home for our hearts, with the Holy Family as our model.

May Mary, whose heart is filled with love beyond all telling, pray for the light of God's glory to shine upon the eyes of our hearts.  Amen.