Saturday, December 23, 2006
Christmas with the Bishop

I am extremely honored and blessed by God. Today was extremely busy for me, and I wanted to write about some of the wonderful opportunities today. First and foremost, I was able to attend a Christmas party with my bishop, and he gave an awesome spiritual talk on Christmas. His overriding theme was that even at the first moment of Jesus's human life, Holy Scripture alludes to His ultimate Sacrifice on the Cross.

For Jesus never had to take on human flesh. For He is truly the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity - God Himself. Yet, as Scripture states, "Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather, he emptied himself and took the form of a slave..."

Meditate on Philippians 2:6-7, especially on the word "slave". Since Jesus is God, His very Incarnation was a Sacrifice. The cold, pain, and hunger He endured were all part of His Sacrificial mission, which culminated on the Cross. The baby in the manger, as He stretched out his little arms, knew that those same arms would one day be drawn out and pierced. Likewise, the spiritual talk today centered on such themes of Jesus's sacrifice being alluded to in Scripture.

Here is Luke 2:21-35

When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord," and to offer the sacrifice of "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons," in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

"Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel." The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

Now Meditate on Mary and Joseph. As they stood and listened to the prophecy of Simeon, spiritually place yourself in their hearts. Simeon is telling Mary that the Child before her would be a cause of contradiction. And that same child's pain, she would have to also to bear. Imagine the fear in their hearts as they heard this. But, they trusted God. After the Shepherds came and adored the Newborn Christ, Scripture states: "And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart" (Luke 2:19). What a beautiful trust in God! Let us seek to follow Mary's humility and trust in God's providence. That reading, which is on the Presentation of Jesus, alludes to Jesus's ultimate Sacrifice. Even as a young child, a baby, He was already growing closer and preparing Himself for His sacrifice. We profess this in the Nicene Creed when we say, "For us men and for our salvation, He came down from Heaven." Every part of Jesus's life alludes to His role as a priest, prophet, and King. Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied men from the East and West would come before the Messiah. And they did; they were the Wisemen. Even in the Gospel, the Wisemen's gifts further allude to Jesus's ultimate Sacrifice.

Matthew 2:9-12

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Gold is undoubtedly the most common of the three gifts for us to relate to today. It is a precious medal and worth much in monetary value. The value of Frankincense and myrrh is more hidden. Those were items used for the preparation of a body for burial. Behold, the Magi, who came to adore the King, already were bringing Him the perfumes to prepare a deceased body. Scripture again alludes to the ultimate Sacrifice of Jesus.

After all of this, I was greatly impressed at the Bishop's spiritual talk. I would like to ask all of my readers to think about Scripture alluding to Jesus's Sacrifice especially this weekend at Christmas Mass.

This was not even the best part of my day. The best part was when I was invited to assist at Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at a Catholic Cathedral. Not only do I get to process in wearing a Cassock and Surplice, but I will assist at the Solemnity of Christmas. How wonderful! It will be such a beautifully reverent Mass!

Merry Christmas!

3 comment(s):

del_button December 23, 2006 at 10:18 PM
Anonymous said...

Wonderful news Moneybags!

And I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you a joyous Christmas season. May God richly bless you in the New Year!

del_button December 24, 2006 at 12:47 AM
Anonymous said...

Wow! It is amazing that you were able to spend such quality time with your bishop. It shows his closeness to the flock! And congrats on getting to acolyte for him. In the diocese were I am located... well, put it this way, please pray that our next bishop will be orthodox. I plan on entering for the Archdiocse of Denver, where the Most Rev. Charles Chaput resides as the local ordinary. Keep up the battle, and never put your sword down. We most not let the enemy be in the lead, but rather, stand up and be strong to the Truth: Christ!

del_button December 24, 2006 at 2:24 AM
Anonymous said...

What a great post! Have a wonderful Christmas moneybags!

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