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  • Rev. Lawrence E. Polansky

Nativity of the Lord: At the Vigil Mass (4p)


Good Afternoon! Maybe an early Good Evening! Merry Christmas! On behalf of the staff of the Parish of Saint Michael the Archangel and the faculty, religious and staff of the school, as well as myself, I would like to welcome all of you! Welcome to all parishioners, their families, and friends. Welcome to all who might be visiting from other parishes! And a special welcome to all the young people who are home for their semester break … welcome home … I hope and pray that your semester went well!

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Entrance Antiphon: Ex 16:6-7“Today you will know that the Lord will come, and He will save us, and in the morning, you will see His glory.”

First Reading: Is 62:1-5“The Lord delights in you.”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 89:4-5, 16-17, 27, 29“Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”

Second Reading: Acts 13:16-17, 22-25“Paul bears witness to Christ, the Son of David.”

Alleluia: Alleluia, alleluia. “Tomorrow the wickedness of the earth will be destroyed: the Savior of the world will reign over us.” Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Mt 1:18-25“Mary will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus.”

Communion Antiphon: Is 40:5“The glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see the salvation of our God.”

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As you look at that baby in the manger, I would like you to think about this statement: “He came into the world that was made through Him.” When you think about it, the world was not a strange place for Jesus … He was not a tourist visiting a foreign country. This world … our world … had been made precisely for this moment. In fact, the world was made in His own image. So, Jesus did not have to squeeze Himself into a world where He did not fit … He easily slid into the space that was reserved for Him.

That is why Jesus felt so comfortable in our world. Of course, as a baby … as a little boy … as a man … Jesus was experiencing everything differently than as God. As a baby … a little boy … a man … He touched the soft lamb’s wool, smelled the fragrant lily or some other flower, tasted the sweet grape, felt the sand on His feet, was buoyed up by waves in the sea or the lake. All these physical experiences were new and delightful to Him. But they were simply additions to what He had already experienced.

As God the Son, before He ever touched a lamb, He knew the lamb’s essence … before He tasted and smelled any earthly thing, He had already known its essential being. That is why He could calm a sea. He knew what water was … and He knew what it could be. So, He did not force water into unnatural behavior when He walked on it or calmed it — He simply brought out its inherent potential.

The Creator was infinitely comfortable within His creation. He knew how and olives and all plants grew He knew all about sheep and livestock. He knew how wine fermented and leaven raised bread. He knew how towers fell and barns were built and armies fought. Jesus was a natural man, born to live on this earth as a native. He knew all about us. He knew that families quarreled, stewards cheated, and people committed sins. He knew the rich were often greedy, the poor would always be poor, and people betrayed trust and failed in love. Jesus accepted the human condition. And because He knew the innards of human beings, He could help them … He can help us … from the inside out. He could urge the bone to straighten, the scab to heal, the eyes to admit light, the ears to strain for sound, the spirit to be enlivened. His cures were not invasive surgeries but holistic healings.

Jesus also knows what was in people’s hearts, and He empathized with them. He felt their pain and loss, hopes and fears. He knew this because He was like us in all things except sin. He respected the native wisdom of people, that they knew more than they were able to articulate. Thus He could say: “The ups and downs of life have taught you how mourning is finally resolved in dancing, that sorrow is magically transformed into joy, that pride precedes a fall, greed breeds greater greed and outside deeds come from inside desires. You have failed enough to know that you cannot save yourself. And since you and I have been poor together, you can believe Me when I say that whenever you help anyone, you help Me.”

We human beings create our own mythical gods who briefly visit and then fade away … money, profits, sports, extracurricular activities, etc. etc. etc. … if I really wanted to, I could go on for hours, couldn’t I? But instead I ask you for a few moments, to take a look at that the baby in the Nativity set in front of the altar or wherever you have it on display in your home. Tonight, we remember when our God came to His own creation to live forever with His own kind. Merry Christmas!

#Christmas #Creator #Creation

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