It’s Christmas once again; and the song of the angels resound as fresh and bright as if it were yesterday: “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace to men of goodwill!”  

These words, chanted by the angels on the first Christmas night, never cease to offer us Hope, Joy, Mercy, and Peace. 

Our Christmas liturgy tonight, calls us away from our personal struggles of fear, anxiety, and depression, and from the struggles our nation and our world face.

Our Christmas celebration tonight is a reminder to us that we are not alone, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came from the right hand of His Father in heaven to live with us, to bring us back into a relationship with His Father. All the pity that God is capable of feeling, all the mercy God is capable of showing, all the redeeming love and grace God could pour into our hearts, all these are contained in the coat of arms of our Basilica, “Christ is among us”.

The Son of God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity stooped to the lowliness of a stable and took on weak human flesh. On that first Christmas, Jesus came into a world, where morals were floundering, and religious thought was confused. It was a permissive society that lacked morals. It was a society in which civilization had decayed to the point where there was little sense of God. It sounds much like the condition of our world today, doesn’t it? Many people don’t want God at all. Others want God, but on their own terms; but making their own rules on how they will serve him.

As was the case for people 2000 years ago, so many people today seek answers to the basic questions and problems of life everywhere but in the church. Our hearts and souls are restless for the truth that only Jesus Christ can give us, yet, most of the time, we do seek that Truth.

When God’s only Son came to this earth, He came as a helpless Child, born of a Virgin in utter poverty, in a stable. A light that no darkness can ever extinguish. A light that can reconcile and bring peace to those who feel lost, lonely, unloved, and forgotten. What Jesus did that night at Bethlehem was to bring light to our darkness, hope and calm to our fear and grief, joy to our sadness, peace to the disturbed, love enough to inspire all of us to go on living knowing that He is our way, our truth, and our life.

We can’t ignore Christmas. We can’t ignore the hope that Christmas brings, and the salvation that it offers.  Christmas renews and restores within us, the miracle of God’s forgiveness and the victory of hope that His birth in Bethlehem 2000 years ago brought to the world.  His birth tells us and assures us, that even in the darkness, there is light. God has not given up on His people and we, His people can never give up on God or each other.

So, no matter where we fit into this picture, no matter what sort of followers we are of Him good, bad, or indifferent; no matter how useless our lives might have become, tonight is a night of hope; because Jesus has come to save us.  He loves us, He has never stopped loving us – no matter how much evil or indifference has entered into our lives. He waits only for us to turn to Him and tell Him that we love Him, that we are sorry for our sins, and that we want to be His loving and faithful followers.

Our Christmas mass tonight is a celebration of the depth and mystery of God’s love for us. Our Christmas mass tells us that God the Father loved us so much that He was willing to send His own Son to save us. Jesus came from the right hand of the Father into the darkness of our world because He was not afraid of the darkness and depth of sin. He came because He is more powerful than that darkness; because He is pure light and life itself. He came as a baby to make Himself small for us, He came as a defenseless baby in need of our help, and begs for our love. 

The Son of God left heaven and made earth His home so that He could share His life with us, and show us the way back to the Father. Like a great star, Jesus came from heaven, not to condemn the world, but to embrace the world and dispel its darkness through His marvelous light. He fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah in the first reading: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in the land of shadows, but now light is shining on them.”

Jesus wants us to experience the joy of His great love for us and to understand that we are not alone and rejected by God and that despite our problems, God wants us to be eternally happy – we are loved by God! 

Tonight, put aside the obstacles on your journey of faith leading to Bethlehem
and ultimately to the house of God our Father.
Open wide the doors of your heart to Jesus Christ.
Invite Him to stay with you, to live with you, and abide with you always!
Don’t leave the Child in the crib tonight!
Pick Him up and take Him into your homes so that He can live with you!

No matter what the past year has been; no matter where you find yourself
on your journey of faith tonight let the light of Christ fill the darkness of your lives.
Let the peace of Christ fill your hearts. Let the divinity of Christ draw you to Himself.

To all who are present at this mass, and to all who are listening to this broadcast, have a blessed Christmas celebration and a new year filled with God’s mercy and peace.