Tuesday 17 March 2015 — Latest update Sunday 22 November 2015

Midnight Mass 24/25th December Messe de minuit le 24 décembre

“Now it happened that while they were there, the time came for Mary to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first-born.”

Is. 9,1-6 Ps.95 Ti.2,11-14 Lk.2,1-14

Midnight Mass 24th December “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you ; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you : you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

The feast of Christmas is of utmost importance to the whole of humanity.God erupts into the history of mankind. This divine intervention in history is situated in the prolongation of the work of God accomplished with the people of Israel.

This encounter between men’s’ history and the Revelation of God is often a stumbling block as far as our rationality is concerned. In celebrating Christmas, the feast of peace and joy, the feast of the childhood of the Son of God, we celebrate all the poor who don’t have any other feast.

Our world is a harsh one, with so many people who suffer in it. We can feel that within our own hearts there is this same will to have power dwelling there. These forces of refusal, which we are more keenly aware of at Christmas, faced with our heaviness, our opacities and our powerlessness.

We have moved far away from the meaning of Christmas and it would be in vain were we to try to reconquer it by our own strength. For the Joy that comes with Christmas is not something man conquers. Today, as on the first day, it is a gift from the Lord Jesus.

Joseph and Mary seek in Bethlehem a refuge at this difficult time, as Mary is about to give birth! Around about were shepherds keeping sheep overnight in the neighboring fields.

’The angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them.. They were terrified.’

These shepherds were poor people, at the service of animals, keeping watch over them at night. Together the return to nature and a simple and poor life helped them to remain standing. Walking at the rhythm of time, they were open to the language of heaven and of that of one another.

“But the angel said ’Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people.”

At a precise time in history, Eternal God came and inserted himself into time. The One without beginning nor end will come into our history consenting to be measured by time and to have ,like each one of us, a past and a future. He gave his consent to have a birth, a youth, a maturity and a death. This moment in history is of great importance for it changes the course of history.

The shepherds have been joined by God in their daily life, in the coldness of the night ,as they watch over the sheep next to the sheep enclosure. God’s marvels came about for them, on this Christmas night. Many marvels from God are still capable of speaking to the poor. God has them feel his Presence and his closeness by taking them up into His Light, explaining to them the inexplicable

’Today in the town of David a son has been born to you : he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you : you will find a baby wrapped up in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.“Fragility, dependence, bareness : these are the bearings provided to the shepherds for them to recognise the Messiah from God. They are already marks of their own existence : the Messiah they are going to seek is already one of them. In the city of David, God comes first to address them this news! He fills the waiting poor with good things! It is the angels who come and bursting forth with Joy from Heaven! God wants to fill these shepherds with his gifts, giving them a new hope, a great joy for all the people. The angels sing the glory of God- Peace has come back to humans. These shepherds find a human face. They inwardly set off to go towards this Child! Who is this small newly born child wrapped up and lying in a manger? He is the Messiah, the Lord! He is the image of the Invisible God, effigy of his substance, in Him shines forth the All Powerful One, the ’God of armies ’has become a tiny little Child.”And all at once with the angel there was a great throng of the hosts of heaven, praising God with the words :

’Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth!"

We can resume the Christian revelation of the Incarnation by saying that God became man so as to ask man to become more human and to reveal to him the path towards humanization. For man is more human and our societies are

more human, when we know how to make a place for the One who is the weakest ,and especially for the child about to be born; when he who is well helps the sick, when the one who is free visits the prisoner, when the one who has, gives to the one who has not.

The shepherds understand that heaven has come to their entrance door and that the angels are singing before them. Their coming was provoked by their waiting : A very simple woman, Mary did for her children gestures that all mothers do : feed, change nappies, cradle, show loving attention. But this Child is the Son of God.

We know that every child escapes her mother as soon as he opens up his eyes to worldly light and she ponders over her child as she looks on him. Mary knew that the mystery in her child would always escape her, and yet, day after day, she knew how to make the necessary daily gestures. With courage and serenity, she entered into God’s design which is to make riches out of poverty, give an eternal dimension to daily life, a universal aspect to what is limited, redemption to what is ordinary, the divine to what is human.

’Glory to God!’ The infinite Love of God passes by humanity who is breathing God. The People walking in darkness sees a great light rise up on all those who are in darkness. The shepherds’ hearts are changed, a path is there for them! From now on, a new humanity is announced where the face of the child and of the poor ones rediscovers its origin.

We ask Jesus for the grace to be enlightened by the Word of God on this Christmas night.