Homily for the Nativity of the Lord (Midnight Mass) (A, B, C) (25th December, 2015) on the Gospel
Is 9:1-7;Ps 95:1-3.11-13. (R. Lk 2:11);
One day, a primary three pupil started crying during a test and no one knew what was wrong with her. For a long time, the more other pupils and the teacher tried to calm her down, the more she cried. The teacher at a point took her to her own seat and offered her few sticks of biscuit. When she finally stopped crying, the teacher asked her what was troubling her. The little girl innocently told her teacher that she could not find the most appropriate word for her father in the options provided for the pupils to choose from. When the teacher asked her what word was that she replied: “Masquerade”. Thinking that the little girl did not know the meaning of masquerade the teacher asked her why the choice of the word masquerade for her father. “You know that masquerades always terrify people especially little children and that is exactly what my father does. He terrifies our mum and all of us all the time” replied the little girl.
Topic: Do not terrorise.The appearance of the angel to the shepherds and the glory of the Lord that shone around them terrified the shepherds. To calm them down the angel quickly said these consoling words to them: “Do not be afraid” (cf. Lk 2:10).
Interestingly, these words: “Do not be afraid” appeared a good number of times in the bible. In the Old Testament, the Lord said to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” (Gen 15:1). Joseph used these words a number of times, cf. Gen 43:23; 50:19, 21. Moses also used these words, cf. Ex 14:13. There are so many other passages in the Old Testament.
And in the New Testament, while announcing the coming of the forerunner of Jesus Christ the angel of the Lord said to Zechariah: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah” (Lk 1:13). Again, when the angel brought to Mary the news that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ he also said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God” (Lk 1:30). And again in today’s gospel as we have seen, an angel of the Lord also used these words while breaking the news of the birth of Jesus Christ to the shepherds. While carrying out His ministry here on earth Jesus also used these words in the calling of his first disciples cf. Lk 5:10; while walking on the sea towards his disciples, cf. Jn 6:20 among others. To the women who went to the tomb to see the body of Jesus an angel also said, “Do not be afraid” (Matt 28:5). And when these women met Jesus awhile after He also said to them “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Matt 28:10). Saint Paul also received these words from the Lord, cf. Acts 18:9; cf. Acts 27:24. And there are also other passages in the New Testament where they are used.
Today’s gospel reads further: “... suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!” (Lk 2:13-14). The birth of Jesus Christ is for the good of everybody – Christians, Muslims, Hinduisms, Pagans, and so on. We all are to take the news of Christ’s birth to our brothers and sisters wherever they are. We are to bring to others peace not terror. The King that was born for us tonight is the Lord, God, and King of peace, cf. 1Cor 14:33; 1Thess 5:23; 2Thess 3:16; Heb 13:20.
Remember that the little child in our story saw her own father as a masquerade because he terrifies everybody. We must remove those masks with which we terrify others so that the glory of the new born King can shine out in our lives. The angel who brought the news of Christ’s birth to the shepherds goes on to say to them: “... I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Lk 2:10b-11). Let us therefore take this news to others as a news of great joy not of terror. Do not terrorise anybody this Christmas and all the days of your life.
Bible Reading: Phil 4:4-5.
Thought for today: Who are you to others?
Let us pray: May the new born king help us to be His ambassadors – Amen.
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