• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 22 December 2017 17:13

Fourth Sunday of Advent - Christmas Eve

Written by Fr Larry Nemer SVD

Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150This year the Fourth Sunday of Advent is also Christmas Eve and so I would like to reflect on two aspects of the Mystery of the Birth of Jesus – Mary’s “yes” and her fidelity, and the Word taking flesh and being born as a baby.

In today’s gospel Luke describes the visit of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary, saying that she was very special to God and so God wanted her to be the Mother of God’s Son.

Luke said she was “disturbed” by the Archangel’s words; she was obviously also confused. Gabriel talks about her future child, conceived by the overpowering of the Holy Spirit, in terms that come straight from the Jewish Scriptures: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most high. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.” If these words were the ones actually heard by Mary it is not likely that they would have cleared up her confusion. But the important point that Luke is making is that Mary said “yes”, not knowing for certain what would happen. She was willing to do whatever God wanted of her.

One wonders if Mary remained confused as she gave birth and saw Jesus grow up. After all He was not born in a royal palace but in a poor stable. The important news of His birth was not brought to Israel’s religious leaders but to the shepherds in the field. His life was in danger and they had to flee to Egypt. When they returned to Nazareth she had to teach Him to speak, to walk, to eat. She watched Him learn the trade of Joseph, becoming a carpenter. She had to scold Him for staying behind in Jerusalem and not telling them why. She then saw Him leave home to begin the life of a wandering preacher and miracle worker. Was this truly the Son of the Most High and the Ruler of Israel? She saw the rejection He faced and she was there when He died on the cross. It all turned out so differently from what the angel had promised. And yet Mary never stopped loving Jesus; she never stopped trusting in God; she was faithful in every way. No wonder God chose her to be the Mother of Jesus.

The Mystery of Christmas, I believe, invites all of us to be faithful to God – to say “yes” even when we are not sure about what God is asking – and to remain faithful even when things don’t turn out the way we expected they would.

A second aspect of the Mystery of Christmas is that God came among us as a baby. I often imagine God calling together all his angels and telling them that now that He had created the universe and that on one planet He created human beings in His own image He wanted to know how He could show these human beings that He really loved them. I would think that some angels would suggest that He send special people to them to tell them about His love for them. Some other angels might suggest that He appear in all His power and thus show how special His love for them is. And I can imagine one timid angel suggesting: if you really love them, become one of them – become a baby. There would no doubt be a flurry of objections: “you are all powerful, but a baby is powerless – God cannot be that way”, “people may want to hurt you or take advantage of you – God cannot be that way”, “you might have to live in poverty – God cannot be that way”. But God was persuaded that the timid angel was right. If He really wanted to show people how much He loved them, He would have to become one of them, beginning by being a baby. God knew how much a baby was a sign of love. And so God became a baby. At Christmas time we often look at the crib and are amazed when we realize that the baby really is God. God loves us so much that God wanted to become one of us in a way that no one would be afraid of drawing close. Such is the remarkable Mystery of Christmas.