Thought for the Day – 25 December – Birth of the Rebel, Jesus

Thought for the Day – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

Birth of the Rebel, Jesus

The sounds are characteristic of the Season.   As soon as the melody of any number of Christmas carols chime, the lyrics fill our minds and once again remind us of the uniqueness of ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’   Occasionally a song comes along that we have not heard and we ask, ‘Is this a Christmas song?’   Back in the 1970’s, composer and musician Jackson Browne wrote “The Rebel Jesus” and it appeared on the Chieftans’ Christmas album, “The Bells of Dublin” a decade later. Consider the following stanzas:

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

But please forgive me if I seem
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.

Jesus, a rebel?   Let’s face it, it is not one of the words we typically use to describe the Person and His work, especially at this time of the Year.   Many of our images of Jesus unfortunately have ‘tamed’ or ‘domesticated’ Him into being nothing more than a nice man who looks like one of the Bee Gees and taught people to be nice.   We have lost the ‘sting’ that much of His teaching brought to humanity and as such we have re-fashioned a Jesus Who is comfortable and easy-going.   With a re-fashioned Jesus, even the celebration of His Nativity has been re-written. ‘Christmas is (fill in the blank).   Christmas is for (fill in the blank).’Michelangelo,_JESUS - Giudizio_Universale_03

The reality is that no other person in recorded history has left such a mark on humanity. His birth, while legitimately celebrated with family, friends, gifts, food and good cheer, is actually a most inconvenient event for humanity.   Why is Jesus’ birth an inconvenience? Essentially, His birth challenges the status quo of self-serving entitlement and mediocrity calling us to take a stand as He in fact did throughout His life with and among us.JESUS OF THE SHROUD

Biblically, “to rebel” is not always a bad action.  In the languages of both Testaments, “to rebel” means “to stand for, to stand with” or “to stand against.”   Is this not precisely what Jesus the Rebel did when He walked the Earth?   Throughout His ‘working’ life, He continuously “stood for” doing His Father’s will.   Doing the Father’s will is adoring, worshipping and living in right-relationship with God our Father, each other and all of creation.   It is “standing for” the Father’s will in all things, not just the issues or actions I choose.   It is “standing for” the right actions that reverences life, feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless and consoles the sorrowing, to name only a few (see Matthew 25:31-45 for more on the Corporal Works of Mercy as well as their complement, the Spiritual Works of Mercy).   The Rebel Jesus “stands with” His people, never abandoning them in times of difficulty or adversity.   The Rebel Jesus ‘runs into’ situations to be with the suffering and sorrowing, not running away to seek individual relief and comfort.  The Rebel Jesus most inconveniently “stands against” sin, oppression, selfishness and arrogance expressed in any form that demeans the dignity and sacredness of the human person.   The Rebel Jesus challenges structures of society – both civil and religious – when authority is abused to make one’s life comfortable at the expense of another.carl bloch - jesus

In many of his addresses (most especially at Christmas Mass), Pope Francis has exhorted all of us to permit Jesus to find each of us in the encounter He [Jesus] desires.   As God, Jesus took on a full, complete human nature in all things but sin so that we in turn may be free from sin and live as sons and daughters of our Loving Father.   What a Gift we have been given in His birth, a birth that challenges us to be rebels like Him in standing for His Kingdom and His way of living.

May this Christmas be the moment to act and to stand ‘for, and with’ Jesus and to act and to stand ‘against’ everything that is not of Him.

(Fr Mark J Hunt)

(birth of the rebel jesus - may this christmas - 25 dec 2018


Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – Christmas Day!

Quote/s of the Day – 25 December – Christmas Day!

“In adoring our Saviour’s birth,
it is our origin that we celebrate.
Christ’s temporal generation
is the source of the Christian people,
the birth of His Mystical Body.
All of us encounter in this Mystery
a new birth in Christ.”

St Pope Leo the Great (400-461) Father & Doctor of the Churchin-adoring-our-saviours-birth-22-dec-2017 (1)

Christmas Day is nothing if not a day of universal joy.
Children should rejoice because on this day, God Himself
became as one of them;
virgins, because a Virgin brought forth and remained unstained, 
even after giving birth;
wives, because one of their number, became the Mother of God;
sinners, because their Mediator and Saviour and Healer,
has come to redeem them;
the just, because their Reward, exceeding great,
has been born into the world.
In truth, all faithful Christians,
should rejoice, that their Creator and Lord,
has taken on human flesh and begun His reign
over the hearts of men,
not only as God
but also as the Son of Man
among the children of day is nothing if not - st peter canisius - 25 dec 2018

“Never was a whimpering bit of humanity
so powerful that, while lying on His bed of straw, He could command the very stars
to direct whom He wished to visit Him.
Never a child so wise or so rich as this little Infant who was full of grace and incarnate truth.
Never anyone so marvellous as to be at once so small and so great, true God and true Man, the Uncreated Word and weak human flesh, mighty King and a lowly slave.
Never had any child so emptied Himself of all that He really was, in order to become a tiny, speechless, naked, unknown babe.”

St Peter Canisius (1521-1397) Doctor of the Churchnever was a whimpering bit of humanity - st peter canisius - 25 dec 2018

God’s sign is simplicity.
God’s sign is the baby.
God’s sign is that He makes Himself small for us.
This is how He reigns.
He does not come with power and outward splendour.
He comes as a baby – defenceless and in need of our help.
He does not want to overwhelm us with His strength.
He takes away our fear of His greatness.
He asks for our love – so He makes himself a child.
He wants nothing other from us than our love,
through which we spontaneously learn to enter into His feelings, His thoughts and His will – we learn to live with Him
and to practice with Him,
that humility of renunciation,
that belongs to the very essence of love.
God made Himself small,
so that we could understand Him, welcome Him and love Him.
The Fathers of the Church, in their Greek translation of the Old Testament,
found a passage from the prophet Isaiah that Paul also quotes,
in order to show how God’s new ways had already been foretold in the Old Testament.
There we read: “God made his Word short, he abbreviated it” (Is 10:23; Rom 9:28).
The Fathers interpreted this in two ways.
The Son Himself is the Word, the Logos – the eternal Word became small –
small enough to fit into a manger.
He became a child, so that the Word could be grasped by us.
In this way God teaches us to love the little ones.
In this way He teaches us to love the weak.
In this way He teaches us respect for children.
The child of Bethlehem directs our gaze towards all children who suffer
and are abused in the world, the born and the unborn.
Towards children who are placed as soldiers in a violent world;
towards children who have to beg;
towards children who suffer deprivation and hunger;
towards children who are unloved.
In all of these it is the Child of Bethlehem who is crying out to us –
it is the God who has become small who appeals to us.
Let us pray this night that the brightness of God’s love may enfold all these children.
Let us ask God to help us do our part, so that the dignity of children may be respected.
May they all experience the light of love,
which mankind needs so much more,
than the material necessities of life.”

Homily of Pope Benedict XVI on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, 2006god's sign - pope benedict - 19 dec 2017the son himself is the word, the logos - pope benedict 25dec2018

“Today, the Son of God is born and everything changes.
The Saviour of the world comes to partake of our human nature;
no longer are we alone and forsaken.
The Virgin offers us her Son as the beginning of a new life.
The true light has come to illumine our lives so often beset by the darkness of sin.
Today we once more discover who we are!
Tonight we have been shown the way to reach the journey’s end.
Now must we put away all fear and dread, for the light shows us the path to Bethlehem.
We must not be laggards; we are not permitted to stand idle. We must set out to see our Saviour lying in a manger. This is the reason for our joy and gladness: this Child has been “born to us”;
he was “given to us”, as Isaiah proclaims (cf. 9:5).
The people who for for two thousand years has traversed all the pathways of the world,
in order to allow every man and woman to share in this joy,
is now given the mission of making known “the Prince of peace”
and becoming His effective servant in the midst of the nations.”

Homily of Pope Francis on the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, 2015today-we-once-more-discover-who-we-are-pope-francis-christmas-2015


Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori – Christmas! Mass During the Day – John 1:1–18

Advent and Christmas Wisdom with St Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) – Christmas! Mass During the Day – John 1:1–18

The Birth of Jesus

“Consider that the birth of Jesus Christ, caused universal joy in the whole world. Jesus was the Redeemer who had been desired and awaited for so many years.   He was called ‘the desire of the nations’ and ‘the desire of the eternal hills.’   Today, we behold Him, born in a little cave!   Let us consider, that this day, the angel also announces to us the same great joy announced to the shepherds.   “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, for a saviour has been born.”

What great rejoicing there is in a country when the firstborn son of a king is born.   But surely, there should be even greater rejoicing when we see the Son of God born! We were lost and he came to save us.   He is the shepherd who has come to save His sheep from death.   He is the lamb of God, who has come to sacrifice Himself, to become our deliverer, our life, or light and even our food in the Most Holy Sacrament.

Saint Maximus says that for this reason, among many others, Jesus chose to be laid in the manger, where the animals are fed, to make us understand that He has become human and also our food.   “In the manger, where the food of animals is placed, He allowed Himself to be laid, demonstrating that His own body would be the eternal food of humankind.”

Besides this, He is born every day in the Sacrament of the Altar, the Altar is the crib and we go to the Altar to be fed and nourished.   Some might desire to hold the Infant Jesus in their arms as the prophet Simeon did but faith teaches us, that when we receive Holy Communion, we too, hold the same Jesus, who was in the manger in Bethlehem, not in our arms alone but in our hearts.

My beloved Jesus, if I do not love You, who are my Lord and God, whom shall I love?”


And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
full of grace and truth;
we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

John 1:14


Almighty God, Your incarnate Word fills us with the new light He brought to men.   Let the light of faith in our hearts shine through all the ages, to bring Your light to all nations. Come, come, let us adore our Holy Babe of Bethlehem, through whom we pray, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever amen.

“Let us, at this season, approach Him with awe and love, in whom resides all perfection and from whom we are allowed to gain it.   Let us come to the Sanctifier to be sanctified….
May each Christmas, as it comes, find us more and more like Him, who as at this time became a little child for our sake, more simple-minded, more humble, more holy, more affectionate, more resigned, more happy, more full of God.”…Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)john 1 14 and the word became flesh - let us approach - bl john henry newman - christms with st alphonsus 25 dec 2018


Our Morning Offering – 25 December – Blessed is He

Our Morning Offering – 25 December – The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ

Blessed is He
St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church

Blessed is the Child, who gladdened Bethlehem today.
Blessed is the Babe, who today renewed the youth of humankind.
Blessed is the Fruit, who bowed Himself down to our hunger.
Blessed is the gracious One, who suddenly enriched our poverty
and supplied our need.
Blessed is He, whose tender mercy led Him to heal our infirmities.
Blessed is He, whom freedom crucified, because He permitted it.
Blessed is He, whom also the wood bore, because He gave it leave.
Blessed is He, whom the grave bound, when He set limits to Himself.
Blessed is He, whose free choice brough Him
to the womb and to birth.
Blessed is He, who sealed our soul and adorned and betrothed her to Himself.
Blessed is the beautiful One, who remade us in His image.
Blessed is He, who made our flesh a tabernacle for His hiddenness.
Blessed is He, who with our tongue spoke out His secrets.
Blessed is the Word of the most high, who became flesh today for us.
Amenblessed is he by st ephrem 25 dec 2018


The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ – 25 December

This traditional translation of the Proclamation of the Birth of Christ comes from the Roman Martyrology, the official listing of the saints celebrated by the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. the nativity of our lord jesus christ 25dec2018
For centuries, it was read on Christmas Eve, before the celebration of Midnight Mass.
Saint John Paul II, as pope, decided once again to include the Proclamation of the Birth of Christ in the papal celebration of Midnight Mass. Since the papal Midnight Mass at St Peter’s Basilica is broadcast worldwide, interest in the Proclamation revived and many parishes began to include it in their celebrations as well.the nativity of our lord jesus christ - beautiful

The Proclamation of the Birth of Christ situates the Nativity of Christ within the context of human history generally and salvation history specifically, making reference not only to biblical events (the Creation, the Flood, the birth of Abraham, the Exodus) but also to the Greek and Roman worlds (the original Olympics, the founding of Rome).   The coming of Christ at Christmas, then, is seen as the summit of both sacred and secular history.

The Twenty fifth Day of December,
when ages beyond number had run their course
from the creation of the world,
when God in the beginning created heaven and earth
and formed man in his own likeness,
when century upon century had passed
since the Almighty set His bow in the clouds after the Great Flood,
as a sign of covenant and peace,
in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith,
came out of Ur of the Chaldees;
in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses
in the Exodus from Egypt,
around the thousandth year since David was anointed King,
in the sixty fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel,
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad,
in the year seven hundred and fifty two
since the foundation of the City of Rome,
in the forty second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus,
the whole world being at peace,
Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to consecrate the world by His most loving presence,
was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and when nine months had passed since His conception,
was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judah,
and was made man –

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.




The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ and Memorials of the Saints – 25 December

The Nativity of the Lord, Jesus Christ (Solemnity)
Celebration of the anniversary of the birth of Our Lord.   In the earliest days of the Church there was no such feast;  the Saviour’s birth was commemorated with the Epiphany by the Greek and other Eastern Churches.   First mention of the feast, then kept on 20 May, was made by Clement of Alexandria c 200.   The Latin Church began c 300 to observe it on 25 December, though there is no certainty that Our Lord was born on that day.   Priests have the privilege of saying three Masses, at midnight, daybreak and morning.   This was originally reserved to the Holy Father alone – beginning about the 4th century he celebrated a midnight Mass in the Lateran Basilica (in which according to tradition, the manger of Bethlehem is preserved), a second in the church of Saint Anastasia, whose feast comes on 25 December and a third at the Vatican Basilica.   Many peculiar customs of the day are the outcome of the pagan celebrations of the January calender.   The Christmas tree, of which the first known mention was made in 1605 at Strasbourg, was introduced into France and England in 1840.   The feast is a holy day of obligation, preceded by the preparatory season of Advent and by a special vigil – should it fall on a Friday it abrogates the law of abstinence.   Today’s Gospel is the prologue of John (2018 Year C).

My post last year:

St Adalsindis of Hamay
St Alburga of Wilton
St Anastasia of Sirmium
Bl Artale
St Basilée of the Via Latina
Bl Bentivoglio de Bonis
Bl Diego de Aro
St Eugenia of Rome
St Fulk of Toulouse
Bl Jacopone da Todi
St Jovin of the Via Latina
Bl Maria Therese von Wüllenweber
Bl Matthew of Albano
Bl Michael Nakashima Saburoemon
Bl Nera
St Peter Nolasco
St Romulus of Berry

Martyrs of Nicomedia: 20,000 Christians martyred by order of Diocletian. They were reported to have all been in the single basilica to celebrate Christmas. While there unquestionably was an endless series of martyrs under Diocletian, it’s likely the ancient sources exaggerated the numbers of this incident. And as the Christmas holy day was not celebrated in the East in 303, they were probably gathered for another feast. They were burned alive in 303 in the basilica of Nicomedia.