Merry Christmas

12-24-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Tonight is the night! Merry Christmas to all! The Christmas Masses, often bring many visitors to our parish, especially family members and friends of parishioners. We pray you find a warm welcome from our family of St. Mary's Church and School. May the love of the Christ Child born of the Virgin Mary bring us true peace deep within our hearts. Below is a short reflection on Christmas from Bishop Robert Barron. –

"Why would the arrival of a tiny baby, who would grow up to bear a message of love, have excited such negativity? We must remember that the child is described as a king, which means someone who comes to rule; more precisely, he is characterized as king of the Jews, and this was the very title that Herod claimed. Therefore, Herod, quite correctly, saw him as a threat to his prerogatives and position. … The trembling of all of Jerusalem at the birth of the baby king is a function of the demand that that king will eventually make, the change that his rule will affect. Just to drive this point home, Ma&hew tells us that Herod, having been duped by the Magi, furiously lashed out, ordering the murder of every boy in Bethlehem under two years of age. Not exactly the reaction of someone who is just delighted that the Christmas season has arrived! …

"Luke sets up his story as the tale of two rival Emperors: Caesar, the king of the world, and Jesus, the baby king. While Caesar rules from his palace in Rome, Jesus has no place to lay his head; while Caesar exercises rangy power, Jesus is wrapped in swaddling clothes; while Caesar surrounds himself with wealthy and sophisticated courtiers, Jesus is surrounded by animals and shepherds of the field. And yet, the baby king is more powerful than Augustus— which is signaled by the presence of an army … of angels in the skies over Bethlehem. All four of the Gospels play out as a struggle, culminating in the deadly business of the cross, between the worldly powers and the power of Christ. For Jesus is not simply a kindly prophet with a gentle message of forgiveness; he is God coming in person to assume command. He is the Lord. And the entire New Testament couldn't be clearer that his Lordship means that all those who follow a contrary rule—meaning, pretty much every one of us—are under judgment.

"To be sure, the distinctive mark of Jesus' Lordship is love, compassion, forgiveness, and non-violence—but this is not the stuff of sentimentality and warm feelings. It is a provocation, a challenge, a call to conversion of the most radical kind."

Bishop Robert Barron, Word On Fire

God of peace, gift of peace for all of humanity, come to live in the heart of every individual and of every family. Be our peace and our joy! Amen!