Sunday, December 25, 2011

"For a Child is Born to Us"

1 comment:

Russ said...

I recently read The Joy of Knowing Christ: Meditations on the Gospels, by Pope Benedict XVI, published by The Word Among Us. After seeing your picture of the Holy Family, I wanted to share a piece from that book found on pages 15-16:

The first word on which I would like to meditate with you is the angel’s greeting to Mary. In the Italian translation the angel says, “Hail, Mary.” But the Greek word kaire means in itself “be glad” or “rejoice.” And here is the first surprising thing: the greeting among the Jews was “Shalom,” “Peace,” whereas the greeting of the Greek world was Kaire, “Be glad.” It is surprising that the angel, on entering Mary’s house, should have greeted her with the greeting of the Greeks: Kaire, “Be glad, rejoice.” And when, forty years later, the Greeks had read this gospel, they were able to see an important message in it: they realized that the beginning of the New Testament, to which this passage from Luke referred, was bringing openness to the world of peoples and to the universality of the People of God, which by then included not only the Jewish people but also the world in its totality, all peoples. ..It is only with this dialogue which the angel Gabriel has with Mary that the NT really begins. We can therefore say that the first word of the NT is an invitation to joy: “Rejoice, be glad!” The NT is truly “gospel,” the “good news” that brings us joy. God is not remote from us, unknown, enigmatic or perhaps dangerous. God is close to us, so close that he makes himself a child, and we can informally address this God. ..This is the great joy the Christianity proclaims. Knowing this God is truly “good news,” a word of redemption…If we look at today’s world where God is absent, we cannot but note that it is also dominated by fears and uncertainties: Is it good to be a person or not? Is it good to be alive or not? Is it truly a good to exist? Or might everything be negative? And they really live in a dark world; they need anesthetics to be able to live. Thus, the words, “rejoice, because God is with you, he is with us,” are words that truly open a new epoch…We cannot keep solely for ourselves this joy that we have received; joy must always be shared. Joy must be communicated. Mary went without delay to communicate her joy to her cousin Elizabeth…This is the real commitment of Advent: to bring joy to others. Joy is the true gift of Christmas, not expensive presents that demand time and money…Let us pray that this presence of God’s liberating joy will shine out in our lives.