The Nativity of the Lord (a)
This Week’s Liturgy Calendar.
The Season of Christmas and the Christmas Octave.
Sunday 25th December: The Nativity of Our Lord. (a)
Jesus Christ is born! With the angels and the shepherds, we worship the God who saves us. We celebrate an amazing mystery. The Son of God is born as one of us, like us, in all things but sin.
Monday 26th December: Feast of St. Stephen.
Stephen was the first martyr to shed his blood for Christ. His zeal and integrity annoyed many and as a result, he was stoned to death for witnessing to his newfound faith. One of the witnesses to his death was Saul, the future apostle Paul.
Tuesday 27th December: Feast of St. John.
John, like his brother James, was a fisherman when Our Lord called him He is referred to, in the gospels, as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ and is believed to have been the youngest of the apostles. He was the only one of the twelve who stood at the foot of the cross with Our Lady. He lived to a great age, suffering persecution and exile but not martyrdom. . He wrote his Gospel, the Book of Revelation and three letters after the other three gospels had been written. His writings are much more reflective, heralding the new life of grace brought by Jesus.
Wednesday 28th December: Feast of the Holy Innocents.
Today the Church remembers the children, spoken of by St. Matthew in his Gospel who were slaughtered by order of King Herod. This feast has been celebrated at least since the fifth century. The children are venerated as martyrs because they were put to death on account of Christ. It has been estimated that, if the population of Bethlehem at that time was around about 1000 people, then perhaps 20 or so infant boys were killed.
Thursday 29th December: Christmas Octave by date.
During the Christmas octave, the first reading comes from the first letter of St. John. This was one of three letters, meant to encourage unity in the early Church in which there were many divisions. It is very positive and loving in tone.
In the Gospel, we hear the story of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple. Simeon had been waiting for this moment for many years. He points out that the Child Jesus was not only the fulfilment of the promises made to Israel, he was the light to enlighten the pagans. He also tells how his life will bring heartache and suffering to those who love him most especially Our Lady.
Friday 30th December: Feast of the Holy Family.
This feast has been displaced from its original Sunday celebration due to Christmas being celebrated on a Sunday. The Gospel tells us of the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple and also gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ life in Nazareth.
Saturday 31st December: Christmas Octave by date.
John warns of the lies being put about by the attackers of Jesus. They deny that is the Christ. John warns that many will come forward claiming to be Christ. Don’t listen to them, be on your guard.
The Gospel presents us with the powerful prologue to St. John’s Gospel in which all the themes of his Gospel are presented to us. It is written, in John’s own words, that we might believe in Christ and find life in him and through him.
O come let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.