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Meeting Christ in the Liturgy

by Fr. Cusick

(CCC refers to the Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Epistle: Isaias 60.1-6; Gospel: St. Matthew 2, 1-12

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

MERRY CHRISTMASTIDE. Throughout the ages, Christians have celebrated Christmas as a season, with the twelve days between Christmas and the Epiphany as one long Christmas "day." Christmas celebrations with friends and family, decorations, and all of the other means of rejoicing, should continue throughout the season. We can never rejoice in the Lord's birth too much. As Christians, we will very often find ourselves living in contradiction to the styles and preferences of this present age. We should get very much used to the fact that we will face conflict among friends, and even at times within families, as we seek, more generously and more regularly, to live out and celebrate the mysteries of our redemption in Christ Jesus. 

"Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you." Isaiah the prophet describes the glory of Jesus Christ, which is "the glory of an only Son, coming from the Father, full of grace and truth", our Messiah. The prophet also foretells the reality of those first three wise men, who represent the kings and the peoples of the whole earth, all of whom are called to fully realize their dignity as sons and daughters of God in worship and praise of Him for his glory and goodness. In the 
Catechism we read: 
"The Father's only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is 'Christ,' that is to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence, though the manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples. Thus the whole life Jesus Christ will make manifest 'how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.' " (Acts 10:38) (CCC 486) 

You and I, and all of mankind, must like the shepherds, the magi, St. John and the disciples, come before the Lord in His humble birth at Christmas, and worship Him with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength. You and I will be seen as acceptable and pleasing to God to the extent that, in Christ, we grow in our praise and worship of Him, generously, with our whole being. How do we praise and worship God? Christ is our model and our means. Christ has set down through example and precept the ways in which we live the Christian life. The ancient "way" of Christian life is repentance and belief in the Gospel, practically and profoundly realized in the sacramental life. Christians, from the first foundation of the Church, have met and known Christ through the words of forgiveness in Confession: "Your sins are forgiven you. Go and sin no more." 

And from the beginning, as we do today, Christians have met Christ in the gift of His body and blood in the Eucharist, and have fallen down in worship of Him, our God. "This is my Body...this is my blood." This is the greatest of all the sacraments, the Most Blessed Sacrament. Do we approach Christ at communion with all the reverence, love and worship due to God? Let us be ever more generous in our expressions of reverential worship of the Lord. This is how we prepare for the joy of heaven, where will live as the praise of God's mighty glory forever and ever. 

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

Used with the permission of Fr. Cusick from his website