Meeting Christ in the Liturgy Library

Masses of THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD and Sunday within the Octave of Christmas

Mass at Midnight

Mass at Dawn

Mass of the Day

Sunday within the Octave

Mass at Midnight

Epistle: Titus 2. 11-15; St. Luke 2. 1-14

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The customary reading for Christmas from the Roman Martyrology, often proclaimed prior to the celebration of Christmas Mass at Midnight:

In the year 5199 since the creation of the world, when God made heaven and earth;
in the year 2759 since the flood;
in the year 2015 since Abraham's birth;
in the year 1510 since the exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt under the guidance of Moses;
in the year 1032 since David was anointed king.
In the 65th week of the year according to Daniel's prophecy;
in the 194th Olympiad, in the year 732 after the building of Rome;
in the 42nd year of the reign of Octavian Augustus, when there was peace in the whole world;
in the 6th era of the world's history;
Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desired to sanctify the world by His gracious coming.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and now after nine months (all kneel)
He is born at Bethlehem in the tribe of Judah as Man from the Virgin Mary.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" - Father Cusick

(Publish with permission.)

Mass at Dawn

Epistle: Titus 3. 4-7; St. Luke 2. 15-20

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The nativity of the Lord, the blessed feast of Christmas, is about the gift of God that none of us can ever repay. It is not only the birth of Christ; it is the birthday also of all those blessed to be baptized into the saving death and resurrection of our incarnate Lord.
The Catechism has this to say about the Incarnation:

Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary's womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: 'The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.'(1 Cor 15:45, 47) From his conception, Christ's humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God "gives him the Spirit without measure."(Jn 3:34) From 'his fullness" as the head of redeemed humanity "we have all received, grace upon grace." (Jn 1:16) (CCC 504)

"Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family.(Lk 2:6-7) Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven's glory was made manifest.(Lk 2:8-20) The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:
The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal
And the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.
The angels and shepherds praise him
And the magi advance with the star,
For you are born for us,
Little Child, God eternal!"

(Kontakion of Romanos the Melodist) (CCC 525)

We sing with the angels in each Mass as we anticipate our own meeting with the incarnate Lord born this day, and at each liturgy, in the Eucharist: "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus sabaoth, pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua, hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini, hosanna in excelsis."

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" - Father Cusick

(Publish with permission only)

Mass of the Day

Epistle: Hebrews 1. 1-12; Gospel: St. John 1, 1-18

The "tidings of great joy" re-echoed each Christmas of the nativity of the Lord and Messiah, God's perfect revelation of Himself in the divine person of Jesus Christ, calls for our response of belief in His word as truth.

By his Revelation, "the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company." (Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum 2; cf. Col 1:15; 1 Tim 1:17; Ex 33:11; Jn 15:14-15; Bar 3:38 (Vulg.). The adequate response to this invitation is faith. (CCC 142)

With the body of Christ in the world, the Church, we profess our faith , and in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the fullest revelation of his redeeming and abiding love for us, by the recitation of the Creed.

For a Christian, believing in God cannot be separated from believing in the One he sent, his "beloved Son," in whom the Father is "well pleased"; God tells us to listen to him. (Mk 1:11; cf. 9:7.) The Lord himself said to his disciples: "Believe in God, believe also in me." (Jn 14:1) We can believe In Jesus Christ because he is himself God, the Word made flesh: "No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known." (Jn 1:18) Because he "has seen the Father," Jesus Christ is the only one who knows him and can reveal him. (Jn 6:46; cf. Mt 11:27) (CCC 151)

Only in and through Jesus Christ, "who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary" can we know and love God.

The entire mission of the Son of the Holy Spirit, in the fullness of time, is contained in this; that the Son is the one anointed by the Father's Spirit since his Incarnation-Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.

Everything in the second chapter of the Creed is to be read in this light. Christ's whole work is in fact a joint mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Here, we shall mention only what has to do with Jesus' promise of the Holy Spirit and the gift of him by the glorified Lord. (CCC 727)

We profess our faith anew this day on which we celebrate again the Incarnation of the Son of God and meet him in the proclamation of the Word and in the Blessed Sacrament.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy" - Father Cusick

(See also CCC 151, 241, 268, 291, 423, 445, 454, 461, 473, 496, 504, 505, 526, 530, 594, 612, 705, 706, 717, 719, 1216, 1692,1996, 2466, 2780, 2787.)

Sunday within the Octave

Epistle: Galatians 4. 1-7; St. Luke 2:33-40

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

"Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed." (Lk 2. 34-35) Simeon the prophet greets the Holy Family with words grim and foreboding. Welcoming a new child into the world is a joyful time, a moment full of hope and promise. But this man, inspired by the Holy Spirit, speaks words which inspire trepidation, not expectation.

The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord. (Lk 2:22-39; Ex 13:2, 12-13) With Simeon and Anna, all Israel awaits its encounter with the Savior - the name given to this event in the Byzantine tradition. Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the 'light to the nations' and the 'glory of Israel,' but also 'a sign that is spoken against.' The sword of sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ's perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had 'prepared in the presence of all peoples.' (CCC 529)

To welcome any child into a family is a time of joy, but every life also includes the sword of sorrow. The Holy Family is the model for all families, the "icon" of the family. Every family, according to God's plan, begins in the bond of a man-husband and a woman-wife, who share in an exclusive and life-long commitment. In responsible parenthood the married man and woman preserve the right of every child to be brought into the world within this bond of one man and one woman. The family of our Lord is holy, not only because Jesus is the God-Man and Mary is an immaculate creature and Joseph a saint, but also because of their love for and obedience to God's plan and their service of one another.

Today the family is the subject of social manipulation and experimentation, a tragedy with far-reaching implications. We may use the name 'family' to describe whatever we please, but God has made plain, through Jesus, Mary and Joseph, his will for every family. Every child has a right to enjoy the security of committed love and consistent example, both of a man-father and a woman-mother. If any woman was capable of running a household singlehandedly, our Lady was, and God might very well have asked Mary to go it alone, but he didn't. He called on Joseph to marry, love and protect our Lady and to be the foster-father of the God-Man, Jesus. God demands that each child have the gift of an authentic family life. Under God's law, every child has a right to be naturally conceived. The divine Artisan has crafted man and woman such that they are capable together of bringing new life about in a manner particular and never to be replaced. The child-yet-to-be-conceived depends completely upon the holy cooperation of man and woman with God in this regard.

Every family must struggle, as the Holy Family did, to do God's will both when it is easy and when it calls for sacrifice or hardship. In a recent audience, our Holy Father spoke on Simeon's prophecy of the "sword" which would pierce Mary's heart and soul with sorrow. In the shadow of that prophecy, the Holy Father pointed out, the Virgin Mary "united her life, in an intense and mysterious fashion, to the sorrowful mission of Christ. She became a faithful cooperator with her son for the salvation of the human race."

Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. (Cf. Prov 8:1-9:6; Sir 24.) Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom."

In her, the "wonders of God" that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested. (CCC 721)

Because of our encounter with the Savior and his family, we know that God's grace enables us to struggle, despite our sinfulness, to live up to his plan for the family. Though without sin, the family of the Savior was not shielded from hardship. Do we expect to attain our call to holiness without some sacrifice, toil, or self-denial? We know that forgiveness, given to us with the new-born Christ and completed on the cross, makes it possible for husbands and wives to live in a love of generous reconciliation with each other. Their deepening relationship provides the environment of security and well-being that nourishes every child's deepest hunger, the hunger for love.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy." Father Cusick

(See also CCC 149, 575, 587, 618, 711.) (Publish with permission.)