Leap for Joy! The Rev. Frank Bellino, Novice

LK 1:39-45 Charles Spurgeon was quoted as saying “And when the Lord Jesus has become your peace, remember, there is another thing: goodwill towards men. Do not try to keep Christmas without goodwill towards men.”

My family of God, I welcome you to this last Sunday before the awaited day of Christmas. Today we are asked to take Christ to others; To bring others to experience Christ by our helpful actions as our mother Mary showed in that generous and selfless visit to Elizabeth her relative. May you jump with joy in God’s presence today and always.

Today’s readings remind us that Jesus is reborn every day in ordinary people living ordinary lives, who have the willingness to respond to God’s call and the openness to do God’s will. They suggest that Christmas should inspire us to carry out God’s word as Mary and Jesus did, in perfect obedience to His will, in cheerful kindness and unselfish generosity.

Contrary to the belief of many that Christmas is a time to show off how much we have, a time of partaking in various forms of pleasurable and luxurious living or social activities, the readings of today’s highlight what should characterize everything we do in this period and that is taking Christ to others. A time we bring people to experience Christ by our way of living; this is the most important of all and the true spirit of Christmas. It does not matter whether you are an important person or not, God wants to use you to bring Himself to others.

In the Gospel, Luke tells us how two insignificant women met to celebrate the kindness and fidelity of God. It shows us how sensitive Mary was to the needs of Elizabeth, her older cousin who had miraculously become pregnant in her old age. For Luke, following Jesus consists of hearing God’s word and then doing it, (talking part) and Mary does both, to become the most perfect disciple. “At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? – St. Theresa of Calcutta said, “Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God’s own love and concern.”

We need to carry Jesus to others as Mary did. Christmas is the ideal time for us to be filled with the spirit of Christ, allowing his rebirth within us. Once Christ is reborn in us, He enables us to share his love with all whom we encounter by offering them humble and committed service, unconditional forgiveness and compassionate, caring love. Let us take the time to visit others this during Christmas season, especially the sick and shut-ins, to bring some inspiration into their lives, and hopefully to bring them closer to God.

We need to bless and teach the younger generation. Elizabeth exhibits the responsibility of the older generation to motivate the young generation. Grandparents, Godparents and clergy have the responsibility of encouraging those around them. By complementing and encouraging one’s spouse, children and friends, let us make them know how valuable they are to us and to God.

God is faithful to His promises. The first reading from prophet Micah gives assurance to the Jews that God is faithful to His promises and that from the unimportant village of Bethlehem He will send them the long-expected ruler. From something insignificant, God brings out something significant. It does not matter how insignificant your virtuous deeds are, God always treasures them and makes something meaningful out of them. Anything you do for another, in this period of Christmas, is being Christ-like. The second reading encourages to be thanks to Christ who offered the sacrifice of perfect obedience that liberated us from sin. At Christmas, we celebrate that unique sacrificial gift of Christ to the world. May our lives be sacrificial in this period of Christmas to give back God’s gift of himself to us.

May you and your family leap for joy as Christ enters your home this Christmas period.

As always you all and your families are in my prayers.