The readings of today help us to focus again on the main theme of this time of the year: the joy of commemorating the birth of Christ. He is the one, according to Luke 4, who brings the Good News to the poor, who was sent to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, and that the oppressed will be set free. What a powerful message for the large numbers of unemployed, those without health insurance and retirement funds, and those without hope for future! What an energizing message for those who are disempowered and discriminated across the globe! What inspiring words for those among us who work for justice in our nation and internationally.
The readings of today express the meaning, relevance, and joy of the coming of Christ in very human and emotional, even sensual words. In the Gospel of today we hear that John the Baptist, still in the womb of his mother, leaped for joy when his mother met Mary, pregnant with Jesus. That rather unusual reference invites us to express our joy about Christ’s coming into our lives. If John, not even born, can express such joy, we, who understand the full meaning of Christ’s coming, should be overwhelmed with happiness at Christmas when we commemorate the birth of our Savior. This joy can give us the inspiration and energy to refocus our lives on Christ’s message for us, our families, and our world and to commit ourselves to the mission of Christ!
This joy can touch and transform all aspects of our lives, including our emotions. The reading from the Song of Songs speaks of the love between two in very emotional and even erotic terms. The approaching lover is equated with a gazelle, leaping across the hills while his friend is waiting, longing for his arrival. The lover pleads with her, saying “Let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely." The Church has applied this love poem to Christ, the lover, and the Church, his beloved. At Christmas we remember the birth of Christ, the coming of the lover of humanity, inspiring us to express our joy through all our emotions.
As the Christmas of the markets is coming to an end, I hope that we can now focus on the real Christmas. Let us share this joy in our families and communities, and become re-energized to further the mission of Christ.
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