Glory to God in heaven and peace to people on earth
1. ✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke
When the angels went away from them to heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
“Let us go, then, to Bethlehem
to see this thing that has taken place,
which the Lord has made known to us.”
So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.(Lk2:15-20). Taken from today’s Christmas gospel for mass at dawn.
2. The birth of Jesus took place in Bethlehem, a little obscure town in Palestine as could be learnt from the prophecy of Isaiah. His birth was seemingly uneventful since it took place in an animal pen and the baby was laid in a manger. But it was indeed a great event that brought a multitude of angels from heaven to announce: glory to God in heaven and peace upon earth on people of good will. This great tidings was announced first to a simple hearted shepherds because the Immanuel, the God in baby form is himself an epitome of simplicity. The simple God was born in a simple town and announced to a simple people.
3. The angels say that he is peace, peace to people on earth, people who want peace, people of simple disposition. This peace needs to be announced to the world and the first people to announce it were the shepherd. They moved in haste to discover the peace and his parents and announce peace to them. Their message prompted two reactions: wonderment by all who heard of it and reflection by Mary. This means that none was indifferent to the news. Peace is the desire of all hearts.
4. This positive attitude brokered joy and praise in the shepherds. They returned praising and glorifying God for what they had heard and seen. We are in a time of praise and glory which emanates from our acceptance the peace initiative offered by God by becoming a baby with all the fragility that this entails. By this very fact, God demonstrates that peace admits fragility, it needs attention like a little child whose survival depends on the good will of those around him. In the birth of Christ in Bethlehem God gives the world the meaning of peace. We can only have peace when we care for it. Peace can only grow and flourish where it is loved and cared for.
5. Today, everyone is crying for peace, holding peace summits and setting up peace committee. In the little infant of Bethlehem we see the short way to securing peace. Peace comes to be received, cultured, nurtured and enjoyed. Peace seekers must accept to drop their powerful positions and adopt the fragile status of a baby that needs care.
6. Take your part of sacrifice to care for the little baby called peace which God has offered to the world today. Unto us a child is born, unto us a child is given. Take this baby to your family, to your kindred, to your village and everywhere. Do not forget that without tender care it will not survive. Be a peace maker. Never forget Bethlehem.
Happy Christmas to you.