Tuesday, December 06, 2005


This Sunday is Gaudete Sunday. The Latin word Gaudete means to rejoice. Today'’s liturgy bids us to rejoice because the coming of the Lord is at hand. The Entrance Antiphon sets the tone: Rejoice in the Lord, always; again I say rejoice! The Lord is near!
It is painfully clear that the Church's "joy and gladness" is in complete contradiction to the godless merry making of the pagan world. The world has turned the Nativity of Our Lord into a pagan, “winter festival.” Now some have even forbidden that the Holy Name of Jesus is mentioned at all. How dreadful! Jesus, Mary and Joseph do not fit into the world'’s Christ less carnival. Once again, there is no room at the Inn. How sad! How empty! How dreadfully displeasing to the Father!
As followers of the Lord we must be clear that the Christmas Season is a time of Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Jesus is the Messiah! Mary is the Mother of the Messiah! Joseph is the Foster Father of the Messiah! We must stress the Holy Family in the stable of Bethlehem, especially to our youth. Without Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Christmas is a delusion.
The Church, through the liturgy, never permits us to slip into this spirit of paganism. Today's Responsorial Psalm puts us on the right course. The Church sings out: My soul rejoices in my God!
Jesus Christ is our God. He is our Lord and Savior! He is the Eternal Word of God, who took human flesh from the Virgin Mary. He became man to save us from sin, Satan and eternal death. My spirit finds joy in God my Savior. The Church prays the prayer of Mary in the Magnificat.
Why does the Church sing out in exuberant joy? The Redemption! God, who is “rich in mercy, did not abandon us to the powers of death. He did not leave us in our sins. In His infinite mercy, He sent His Son to be our Savior. Saint Paul makes it abundantly clear: "You were dead because of your sins and offenses . . . you lived at the level of the flesh following every whim and fancy and so by nature deserved God's wrath like the rest. But God is rich in mercy . . . He brought us to life with Christ when we were dead in sin" (Ephesians 2: 1-4).

My friends, this is our Christmas joy and gladness, the Redemption! Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb, we find forgiveness and peace. The Messiah comes not to terrorize us by condemnation and wrath. No! Rather, He comes in mercy and pardon. He comes as a Babe in the arms of His holy mother, Mary. Saint Joseph kneels close in adoration and protection. Yes! All is calm; all is bright around the Virgin Mother and Child. Let us savor fully the Christmas joy of the Holy Family. REJOICE! REJOICE IN THE LORD!

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.


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