25 December 2021 – Christmas Day (Year C)

By Father Francis Anthony

Isaiah 52:7-10
Psalm 97:1-6
Hebrews 1:1-6
John 1:1-18

Theme: Rejoice for Christ is Born

My dear friends,

All of us are people of hope.  
All of us are people longing for peace.  
All of us want joy and salvation.

This is the focus of the Christmas birth – God becoming man and dwelling among us. He has come to bring us all those themes that we have in the candle, preparing for this day. And God is the last candle there, the white. God is present in us.

The Good News is: God is with us.

That is the Good News. The Good News is not just Christ was born about 2000 years ago. Christ is born in us, He is alive in us today. The Good News is He is with us to give us the strength to be able to walk through the journey of life in the actual situation we are in today. The COVID and the consequence of COVID. Now in our own country we have this disastrous flood, ironically it is in Selangor. People are suffering. What is Christmas then?

Yes, the Gospel text it says: The word became flesh.  He lived among us and he manifested the glory of the Father.

The Good News is Jesus has come to lead us by his hand, to overcome the hardships we are facing today. Let us not live in a world of our own: I went to Mass for Christmas and I received communion. Let us take it as a challenge and ask: Why did God come to earth? Why are we celebrating the birth of Jesus?

And if we go back to history 2000 years ago, the coming of the Saviour, Jesus, for them he had great significance. Through him, not through war and guns and so forth, to overcome the Roman rulers. Through him, to be able to worship God without being oppressed by the so-called spiritual leaders of that time, the Pharisees, the Scribes. They wanted to be liberated from the segregation that was there, blaming, telling them he is a sinner, he is a tax collector, he is a leper, they are to be forbidden in society.  Christ came to change that mentality.  

And we look through the Gospel, you look how Jesus mingled with the people, caring for them, loving them. We always say ‘yes, he performed miracles’ but that miracle was God’s love made manifest. Among all the miracles, one that comes to my mind now as I was preparing – the calming of the storm. Jesus and his disciples were in the boat and there is a big storm that came and there was risk for the safety of their lives. And Christ is there with them and they came up to him and said: Do you not care? We are going to sink. Yes, the words of this are: Do you not care?  

Jesus got up and stilled the storm and that is happening today, in all the hardships that we are facing. We will be turning around and asking: Do you not care?  He is there. He is helping us to journey. Yes, to journey also, he is here helping us to face the political situation that we are in. Since GE14, this is the first time we had three different Prime Ministers. The insecurity of a permanency and within this last few years, 4 or 5, we have mushrooming, and being established, political parties with the purpose of one ethnic group.  

Yes, we are people, we are citizens and as such, we have to voice out, to liberate and bring joy in the political situation that we are pushed into.

So joy is not just “I went to church, I received Jesus, I went for confession, God forgives sins”. No. With that Jesus in me, he wants me today to be his hands and his eyes and his feet. To bring the joy to others, that I am a spark of hope and love to all the people. That is Christmas.  

Christmas is not just “I’m going home afterwards, I’ll have fruit cakes and wine”. Christmas is being able to say to the world: Christ is going to transform and we are to be his disciples of hope.  

We pray during this Christmas to give us the strength and audacity to face the realities. And as we come to help all those flood victims, well, they are not in Penang, through our donation through the Caritas, let us not just say “I give money, finished”. Let us have a feeling it is my brother, my sister, who is suffering and I want irrespective of who that person is, what ethnic group, what social rank. No, my brother is in need, my sister is in need. I feel for my brother and my sister.  That is Christmas.  

Christmas is God came to us to bring us liberation and we with his help, continue to bring that liberation to the people among whom we are living.  

Let us ask God to give us the strength on this Christ day, yes not to be presumptuous, to act like him. Yes, to act like him with showing concern, showing care, showing kindness to others. That is Christmas.  

Let us not fall back and say “Christmas, Christ was born, so I went. He was in the stable and so on“.  

Christmas is to give us a  jump start to make him present through our words and actions.

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