“PUT ON THE SPLENDOR OF GLORY FROM GOD”
It is common for most people to celebrate Christmas by sharing dinner with their family and spending time with their loved ones. How our holiday experience turns out depends on the preparations we make for this special time of year. There are two ways to prepare for celebrating Christmas. The first one is to keep up annual traditions step by step as if we were following instructions for a recipe. And the second is to listen to the signals that the prophets have given us for preparing our hearts for Jesus’ birth.
The first way to prepare is to follow the steps of a cooking recipe where we already know all the ingredients. The steps to follow are: take out the lights from the boxes stored in the closet to decorate the front of the house; make a list of the dinner guest; discuss with the wife how much we are going to spend on gifts; clean the house more thoroughly in case visitors arrive during this time; Decide the menu, tamales, ham, or turkey; miss those who will not be with us; and try to go to church at least on Christmas Eve together as a family. That’s why we say that every Christmas is the same.
The second way to prepare is according to the words of the prophets and this Sunday’s gospel. This is similar to our own Christmas recipes except these steps are dictated by God. He gives us the ingredients to change a heart of stone into a human heart.
THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
The first ingredient is offered by the prophet Baruch who recommends “Take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever.” The afflictions our hearts hold make us experience these days of joy as if we had lost a loved one because God Is not at the center of our thoughts. I pray that God may grant all of us an atmosphere free of the afflictions, tears and insults, and that our Christmas dinners have the flavor of true joy that come from the heart.
The second ingredient comes from the prophets John who recommends: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares. And their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” This time of preparation is doubtlessly to turn our aggression into kindness; its like turning swords into work instruments. It is to want that the negative energy be turned into kindness, or that the heart of stone be turned into a human heart. It is time to stop judging based on appearances, or on what we hear, and start defending the forsaken with justice.
The last ingredient will be added by the prophet Isaiah when he says “Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid”. During Christmas nobody can be left outside our hearts as if there were no place for our enemies, since we cannot divide the world between wolves and lambs. This third ingredient makes us aware that Christmas cannot be a happy time if our love does not grow each day in communion with the people we live with. Solitude is not an ingredient that helps us experience the Holy Night- it is necessary to allow shelter to be offered to those arriving at our borders.
This means that love occurs and exists in the manner you love; faith occurs in the way you believe; freedom is granted in the way you search to be free, and peace is granted in the way we offer peace. Giving is how you receive. This advice from the prophets is very different from what we generally do during Christmas.
You have in your hands the spiritual recipes to prepare the way for the Lord.
Rev. Arturo Corral, Pastor
Rev. Roberto Raygoza, Associate Pastor
Rev. Heriberto Serrano, Associate Pastor
All masses are in Spanish
7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
Monday to Friday:
6:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
In Solidarity with the Needy
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