In the Gospel of St. John which we read today, we come to know the true greatness of the Savior. He is not only Son of Mary but also the Son of God. He is the only-begotten, and is truly God Himself. We cannot but marvel at the greatness of the person who was born in a manger. But our wonder does not stop at the greatness of the Savior; we marvel that He has become one of us. With, and one with Him for all eternity, He has come to be with us and to be one with us in time.
Today’s Gospel says, “In the beginning was the Word; the Word was in God’s presence, the Word was God...The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us...” In Phil.2: 6-7, St. Paul writes that Jesus Christ, whose nature was divine, emptied Himself and took the form of a slave...The Greatest Gift of the Son of God was Himself, and his presence. The best Gift we can give to others is ourselves, our presence, and not things and presents.
I once read the story of a soldier who was coming home from a far assignment. He did not notify his wife of his coming because he wanted to surprise her. As he sat in the train on his way home, he kept on thinking what present he would bring to his wife. Then his face lighted up. When he went down at the train station, he looked for a gift shop. He bought a big Christmas wrapping paper and a giant ribbon. Then he headed home. Before knocking at the door he wrapped himself with the Christmas wrapper, then tied it around him with the giant ribbon. Then he knocked. The wife opened the door, and was surprised to see this big “gift” which suddenly opened and revealed her husband. She embraced him and exclaimed, “JOHN, THIS IS YOUR BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT TO ME!” Kissed each other and went in.
Christ’s presence is a sharing presence. The Son of God did not come to get but to give. And so St. John says, “Of his fullness we all had a share – grace upon grace.” We have all been recipients of God’s great generosity in Christ. We are asked to extend his sharing presence to others especially to the needy. Christmas time and our lifetime should be times when we look forward to receiving gifts but should also be times when we look for opportunities for giving gifts. We live in a world where the predominant culture seems to a culture of having. We believers in Christ should promote rather a culture of sharing. We will never be lacking in gifts to share, no matter how poor we are.
“No one is so poor as to have nothing to give.” And when it most seems that we have nothing, we can always “GIVE JESUS’ to others by our love. One Filipino Christmas carol says beautifully as translated into English “And from now on, even though it is not Christmas let us share with each other.” If we live in this way, then the joy of Christmas will remain with us and spread through us.
Basic Concept: Treasure. As disciples of Jesus, each of us has a responsibility to support the Church and to contribute generously to the building up of the Body of Christ. The emphasis is not on “tithing” (giving a fixed percent of income) but on giving according to our means. In many ways, this is a far more challenging norm. It challenges us to be good stewards not only in how much we give away, but in what we do with all our resources and wealth. This is the best time of our lives to be as generous as we can afford in our parish so that many more good deeds and miracles may happen in our beloved Church of St. Joseph.
This week after Christmas has a lot to celebrate. It begins with the feasts of St. Stephen, St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist, the Holy Innocents, St Thomas Becket, the Holy Family, St. Silvester and the New Year’s Eve for 2017. This all for now, watch the next bulletin. Greeting you a Merry, Merry Christmas and a Happy Grace-laden New Year! God Bless!
Your Priest-Servant and Parochial Administrator,