Saturday, 25 December 2021 : Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, Christmas Mass at Dawn (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this morning as we gather together to celebrate this Christmas Mass at Dawn, all of us are called to reflect on the coming of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour as the bearer of God’s great light and hope, in His glorious coming and appearance in this world, born in Bethlehem of Judea over two millennia ago. As we heard in our Scripture passages today, the Lord proclaimed His most generous and wonderful love to us through the Nativity or the birth of His Son, Our Saviour.

In our first reading today, we heard of the passage from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, in which we heard the proclamation of God’s saving grace and His salvation to His people, how He would rescue them and deliver them from their troubles. God has always loved all of His people, that is all of us without any exception. All of us who are sinners are beloved by God and He wants us to be redeemed and be forgiven from our many sins, and that is why He gave us so great a deliverance by sending to us His Son, to free us from the tyranny of sin.

As St. Paul made it clear to St. Titus in our second reading today, God sent us His salvation through Jesus Christ His Son, through Whom His grace, blessings and forgiveness has come down upon us. Incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His mother, by the power of the Holy Spirit, He has become for us the source of Hope and the fount of God’s most generous mercy. God’s compassion and love has been extended to us, and He has given us this most wonderful means to reach out to Him, that we are no longer going to be separated from Him anymore.

He came as the Child born in that stable, placed in a manger, a small Baby, the Son of Mary. He is the fulfilment of God’s promise of salvation and the long awaited Saviour of all. Yet, unlike what most people at that time would have imagined, He came not as a glorious conqueror or a mighty King, but rather as a small Child, weak and vulnerable, Who had no place to lay His head but on a dirty manger suitable only for animals there in the stable. He came into this world in a very simple and humble way, and although He is a King, but He was born not in a palace, but in a most unworthy of places.

If we remember the story of the Nativity of the Lord, we should remember how St. Joseph and Mary, who was then about to give birth to Jesus, were struggling as they reached Bethlehem after they travelled a long way from Nazareth in Galilee for the census ordered by the Roman Emperor. All the inns and lodgings were full and they were rejected at every places and at every turns. It was probably thanks to a kind person who helped and guided them to a stable located just outside the town of Bethlehem, the place where the Saviour of the world was to be born.

And it was there, amongst animals, sheep, cows, horses, goats and others that the Lord, the King of Kings was born. He was laid in the manger and revealed before the shepherds and others who witnessed His birth. Thus at that time, the coming of the Lord into this world was marked not by great celebrations and throngs of joy on Earth, but in quiet silence and in the presence of shepherds, with only Angels attending to the King, proclaiming His glory with the words, ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo! Glory to God in the Highest heavens!’

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord has come into the world, to be in our midst and among us, so that He may deliver us from our sins. Much as how God has sent Moses to His people, the Israelites to deliver them from the hands of the Egyptians and their Pharaoh, from their enslavement and humiliation, from their suffering and hard life there, the same He has done for us all through Christ. The Lord Jesus, by His coming into the world, He has delivered us all from the tyranny of sin, from our enslavement to those sins, and receive from Him the freedom and assurance of liberation from eternal death.

We are truly fortunate that the Lord has done such marvellous things for us, even when we are still sinners and delinquents, rebels who are often testing the limits of His patience. Any other men would have consigned us to destruction and abandon us to our fate. But that was not what the Lord had done, as His love for us remained even after all that we had done to Him, in abandoning Him and in disobeying Him. He still did all that He could to reach out to us and patiently caring for us, and by giving us Christ, His Son, He has given the most generous gift of all.

As we enter into this season of Christmas and as we are going to celebrate the festivities of Christmas, therefore let us all spend the time to reflect on what Christmas is all about, brothers and sisters in Christ. Is Christmas to us just like any other holiday, festivities and celebrations? Is it just about all the parties, the glamour and all the merrymaking, about the gifts and the goodies that we are going to receive and exchange with each other? Is it just another time for us to look forward to good food and good pleasures, happiness and joy of this world?

Or is it a time for us to remember once again just how fortunate for us to have been beloved so generously and wonderfully by God, so much so that He has given us His only begotten Son as Our Lord and Saviour? This is unfortunately not what many of us are doing, as many of us in our celebrations of Christmas do not even have Christ at the centre and as the focus of our celebrations and joy. Instead, what we have done is placing ourselves, our greed and ego, and our selfish desires instead as the focus of our Christmas celebrations. To do so is for us to rejoice without understanding the true meaning and significance of Christmas.

Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, all of us who should have been consigned to annihilation and eternal destruction have received new hope and lease of life through His love and grace, by His most generous love in coming to us and in reaching out to us, in looking for us sinners. He is our Good Shepherd Who has come to us, the lost sheep and gathered all of us, calling on all of us to follow Him and be lost from Him no more. He came to us and showed His love to us, only for many of us to shut Him out and ignore Him. Is that something that we should be doing, brothers and sisters?

That is why today as we begin our Christmas joy and celebrations, let us all return to the true roots of the meaning of Christmas. Let us all remember once again why we even rejoice this Christmas, and that is because Christ and His presence in our lives, even today. We rejoice because of the love we have received from Him, and as Christians, all of us are called to share this love with one another. Of course we have to love God first and foremost of all, but we also must not forget to love all those others whom God had placed all around us in our lives.

Let us all share the love of God and the joy we have received this Christmas, and be generous in giving and sharing especially to those who have little or none to celebrate with this Christmas. And instead of excessive revelry and merrymaking, let us all share in the true joy of Christ by reaching out to one another with the genuine faith in Our Lord and His salvation, and share His love and blessings in our everyday lives with those who need them the most. May God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, born and celebrated on this Christmas day, be with us all and may He continue to bless us and watch over us throughout our joyous Christmas celebrations. Wishing all of us a most blessed Christmas! Amen.

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