2020-12-25ChristmasRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

Christmas Masses were always filled to capacity her at St Mary. There were more people at the Vigil Masses than there was seating in our Church.

This year is very much different. I was worried that big crowds would be unhealthy for all of us, myself included. I decided to have a video Mass. All of you parishioners will be able to watch this in safety.

I realize that it is not the same as attending Mass in person. Mary and Joseph searched for a room in Bethlehem and they could not find one. Someone offered them a stable and that is where Jesus was born. We will never forget that original Christmas.

I realize that attending Mass by video is not the same as attending Mass in person. I am sure that we will never forget how we celebrated Christmas in the year 2020.

We have more freedom celebrating this Video Mass. We can sing the parts of the Mass as well as Christmas carols. We do not have that freedom when we celebrate in person because of the possibility of spreading Covid 19 by singing.

God entered the world as a human baby. Wise men from the East brought him gifts. The star that they followed to the place of his birth signified his importance and they recognized that by paying him homage by bringing him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

I am sure that it is why we exchange gifts at Christmas in imitation of what they did.

The readings for the four Christmas Masses are different. The Vigil Mass is taken from the Gospel of St. Matthew. He traces the geneology of Jesus back to Abraham, the father of the Jewish faith. The midnight Mass and the first Mass in the morning are taken from St. Luke. St. Luke tells us the most about the birth of Jesus. The Mass that I am celebrating for you today is the midnight Mass because I think those readings are the most beautiful. The Mass later on Christmas day is taken from the Gospel of St. John. The reading from St. John`s Gospel is very theological. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." That is the way that St. John describes the birth of Jesus. St. Mark`s Gospel does not mention the birth of Jesus.

Not talking about Jesus in this Christmas season is popular today. Today we talk about "Season`s Greetings" or "Happy Holidays". In the early days of our country, they did not talk about Christmas, either. Why? Because they considered it to be a Roman Catholic holiday and it is to this day!

The spread of this pandemic assures us that there are things in this world that are bigger than we are. We need to get our priorities straight.

God is God and we are not.

Jesus walked this earth as one of us. He strongly encouraged us to love one another. He was crucified as an innocent person. As a baby he had his arms extended just as he did when he hung from the cross. Both times that gesture signified his love for us.

The Christmas season is a happy time and a sad time as well. To be with one another is happy. Many of us cannot do that this year. It is sad because we are separated. Many of those we love have passed on to heaven.

Heaven is our final destination. There is no sadness in heaven. It is greater than we can ever imagine. How do I know? Because Jesus told me so. God bless you and Merry Christmas.

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