Dear Parishioners & Visitors,
Christmas 2020 is a Christmas like no other in our lifetime. And yet, as with every year, Christ is born for us to redeem this year…if we allow him to do so. God is once again inviting us to allow him to bring good even from the evils and division wrought by a fallen humanity. He does not draw us back to himself by force, but by the innocent attraction of an infant child.
And by connecting with Jesus now as an infant at Christmastide and dedicating yourself to daily prayer in 2021, you will gradually grow day-by-day with him into the maturity of true sons and daughters of God! So decide now, at this Christmas Mass, to make him both Friend and Lord of your life, making God’s will for every day of your life your sole purpose, which in turn orders and gives unity and integrity to every aspect of your life: family, friends, work, and leisure. As Dante reminds us, “In your will is our peace, Lord.”
It is Jesus, Emmanuel (“God with us”), who has come to bring peace to the war within our hearts! Discover that peace by recommitting yourself to daily prayer and the sacramental life of the Church, and you will bring greater light to a world of darkness. Here are a couple of suggestions:
1.Today’s homily is on how God “Rescued” humanity. Listen to the first two homilies of the Sermon Series, 1) “Created” and 2) “Captured,” by going to our website, www.saintjohnjackson.org/ homilies. Come back this Sunday for “Response,” the conclusion of the four-part Sermon Series on the kerygma, or “proclamation” of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. Make an appointment with me for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in order to denounce and be forgiven for all the wrongdoings and shame of the past, which the Evil One uses to keep us enslaved. Jesus wants to free you of all of that. If you are a Catholic who hasn’t been going to Mass for a while, call Ava at the parish office, and let her know you’d like to meet with Fr. Chas for confession, so as to be able to receive the Eucharist again.
You will find that allowing God to order and bring peace to your own life is the greatest contribution you can make to peace in the world. The joy and light that Christ brings you naturally overflows to you bringing joy and light to others.
Don’t Forget Your Christmas Gift – A High-Quality Crucifix and Miraculous Medal! I am so grateful for your Christmas gifts to me as your spiritual father, and so I hope you enjoy my gift to you! In the past, I’ve gotten various book titles for you. But this year, since a parishioner has graciously stepped in and said she felt moved to do that for her fellow brothers and sisters in Christ this year (see bulletin article on this), I went a different route – a high-quality crucifix and a Miraculous Medal!
I recommend every Catholic wear a crucifix and a medal or scapular dedicated to Our Lady. They are our “dog tags” that identify us and to whom we belong! As St. Paul said, “Whether we live or we die, we are the Lord’s” (Rm 14:8). I was able to purchase a whole bunch of high-quality St. Benedict Crucifixes and Miraculous Medals in bulk. The silver-plated crucifixes incorporate the Medal of St. Benedict into the cross, bringing together two powerful sacramentals against evil spirits. The Miraculous Medal is likewise a sign to us of the great graces Our Lady’s intercession brings into the lives of those consecrated to Jesus through her.
Please remember that these are NOT to be seen as good-luck charms or superstitious magic. They are sacramentals, which the Catechism reminds us help dispose us to receive God’s graces and to cooperate with them. I wear both, and so I invite you, as a sign of solidarity together with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, to do the same.
A very Merry Christmas to you and yours! May the lessons of 2020 help us face 2021 with a heart of gratitude and renewed faith that all things are passing and that God and his love conquers all things!
Yours in the newborn Christ-child,