One Minute Reflection – 24 December – The Nativity of the Lord, Mass at Midnight – Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7 (1-6), Psalm 96:1-3, 11-13, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14
For to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.… Luke 2:11
REFLECTION – “Brethren, now we have been told about the miracle let us turn aside to see this unusual sight as Moses did (Ex 3:3) – in Mary the burning bush is not consumed, the Virgin gives birth to the Light without defilement (…) Let us then run to Bethlehem, the town of the Good News! If we are real shepherds, staying awake on our watch, then it is to us that the voice of the angels is addressed, announcing a great joy (…) “Glory to God in the highest for peace is coming down to earth!” There where, only yesterday, there was nothing but misfortune, battlefields and exile, now earth receives peace for today “Truth shall spring out of the earth and justice shall look down from heaven” (Ps 84:12). Behold the fruit earth gives to humankind in reward for the goodwill reigning among men (Lk 2:14). God is joined to man to raise man to the stature of God.
At this news, my brethren, let us go to Bethlehem to behold (…) the mystery of the crib, a child wrapped in swaddling clothes rests in a manger. A Virgin after giving birth, His undefiled Mother, embraces her son. Let us repeat the words of the prophet along with the shepherds: “As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of our God.” (Ps 47:9)
But why does our Lord seek shelter in this cave at Bethlehem? Why is He sleeping in a manger? Why does He participate in Israel’s census? My brethren, He who brings liberty to the world, comes to be born into our slavery to death. He is born in this cave to reveal Himself to us, who are immersed in darkness and the shadow of death. He rests in a manger because He is the One who makes grass grow for the cattle (Ps 104,14). He is the Bread of Life who feeds us with a spiritual food that we too might live in the Spirit… What more joyful feast is there than that of today? Christ, the Sun of Justice (Mal 3,20), comes to illumine our night. What had fallen is raised up again, what was overcome is now set free… what was dead is restored to life… Let us all sing today with one voice over all the earth: “Death came through one man, Adam, today salvation has come through one man (cf Rom 5,17)” … St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–c 395) Bishop-Sermon on the Nativity
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.