✝️ REFLECTION CAPSULES – Dec 25, 2022: Sunday

“Making our hearts a ‘place of party’ to
celebrate God’s love and mercy!”

(Based on the Solemnity of Christmas – the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Cycle A)

Tony Campolo, an American author in his book, “The Kingdom
of God is a party” narrates a heart-touching experience…

One, very early morning, Tony sat in a cafe.

As he was drinking coffee at the counter, a group of
prostitutes walked in and took up the stools around him.

One of the girls, Agnes, lamented the fact that not only was it
her birthday tomorrow but that she never had a birthday party
in life.

Tony thought it would be a great idea to surprise Agnes
with a birthday party!

He got the necessary information from the café owner that the
girls came in every morning around 3:30 am.

They both agreed to set up the place for a party – a surprise
birthday party for Agnes!

Word somehow got out on the street, so that by 3:15 the next
morning the place was packed with prostitutes, the cafe owner
and his wife, and Tony.

When Agnes walked in she saw…
… banners and balloons; the Café Owner holding a birthday
cake
… and everyone screaming out “Happy Birthday!”

Agnes was overwhelmed with deep emotions!

She was stunned and shaken
Her friend grabbed her arm to steady her
Tears poured down her face as the crowd continued to sing
“Happy Birthday to you….”

It was a party that was hard to believe…
… a party that celebrated Love – inviting all to know that God
wants everyone to come to His Heart of Love!
… a party that celebrated Mercy – acceptance of human beings
as images of the Loving God!

Am I willing to make my heart a “place of party” to celebrate
love and mercy…
… by accepting the unwanted, the rejected and the lonely?
… by sharing the precious gifts of God’s Mercy and Love to all?

Christmas is the beautiful feast of God becoming man, and
hosting “a Divine Party – celebrating His Love and Mercy!”

Christmas is the holy and happy day when we celebrate the
coming of God’s Son into the world – the incarnation of God
(Cf. Jn 1:14)…
… celebrating His intense and saving love for us (Cf. Jn 3:16)

St Mathew presents the narration of the Birth of Christ with
the account of the genealogy of Christ (Cf. Mt 1:1-17)

This is one of the passages of the Bible that many of us tend to
skim through or altogether skip it!

The very long list of hard-to-pronounce names; the
mention of some dubious personalities; the lack of awareness
of the lives of many of those persons…
… all of these may cause us to “omit the reading and reflection”
of the Genealogy!

But St Matthew very purposely introduces us to the Person
of Jesus Christ – the Saviour of the world – by spelling out His
genealogy!

This is his way of saying, “What I’m going to tell you is
something that has actually occurred in history – in time and
space!”

And this brings to us an important and distinguishing
characteristic of Christianity: the core of Christianity is not a
set of teachings, but it is about what God has done for us – our
redemption from sins!  

This is expressed in the very meaning of the name Jesus:
JESUS means “God saves!”
(The name JESUS, is the shortest and simplest prayer that we
can make – as we call on the salvific power of God [Cf. Rom
10:13])

Christmas, therefore, comes with the strong message that
“every external act of festivity ought to be accompanied by an internal surrender of one’s life to Christ, our Saviour!”

The decorations that we do, find authentic meaning, when
we allow Christ’s Love to glitter our life!
The sweets, cakes and other food that we prepare, have
real value, when we allow our faith in Christ to nourish and
nurture us!
The stars we put up and the carols we sing, find true
importance, when we allow Christ’s Mercy to radiate and
harmonise us!

That is why, the greatest and the truest act in the celebration of
Christmas is accepting Jesus as the Saviour of our lives!

All other external expressions ought to flow forth or lead
towards this sole requirement: Jesus is to be born in our hearts!

We are also called to reflect on some other essential messages
of the Solemnity of Christmas
.

  1. Christmas is the beautiful saga of God humbling Himself,
    and as the Good Shepherd (Cf. Jn 10:11) going to any extent to
    win us back to him

Birth in the manger demonstrates the abasement of the
Divine
Baby Jesus, lying on the manger is also a prefiguration
of Jesus dying on the Cross, fulfilling the act of humiliation
signified in Incarnation! (Cf. Phil 2:6-8)

  1. Christmas is the amazing story of hope and courage

Joseph and Mary displayed tremendous hope and courage
as they join hands with the Will of God (despite the many challenges and obstacles that came their way)!
Zechariah and Elizabeth exhibited much hope and courage,
as they held fast in faithfulness, to experience the miraculous
birth of John, the precursor of Jesus
The shepherds and the wise men showed much hope and
courage, as they boldly trusted in the signs given to them,
which culminated in their offering of service and worship.

  1. Christmas rings in the good news that “the one who trusts
    in God” will always be blessed! (Cf. Ps 146:5)

Mary, Joseph, Zechariah, Elizabeth, the shepherds, the wise
men – everyone experienced tremendous blessings because
they “chose to trust in God!”

Life often takes us through crossroads and dangerous curves

Are we ready to make a choice – of trusting in the Lord…
… and thus experiencing His mighty blessings!

Christmas is indeed history – HIS story
… the fantastic story of Him Who loves us immensely
… the fabulous event of Him Who is born for us – for our
salvation

This Christmas, let us make our hearts a “place of party” to
celebrate love and mercy…
… by accepting the unwanted, the rejected and the lonely!
… by sharing the precious gifts of God’s Mercy and Love to all!

With much faith and joy, let us celebrate God’s intense and saving
love for us!

Merry Christmas to you all!

God Bless! Let’s always… Live Jesus!


Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
INDULGENCES

The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance.
What is an indulgence?
“An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven
… which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church

… which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.” (CCC #1471)

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