Dear Friends in Christ,
One of the Gospels for Christmas Day, the one from St. John, highlights the announcement for today’s solemnity, “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” St. John wants us to realize that this is God’s embodiment in our frail human condition. This Christ Event, this Christian story, announces a completely new presence among us. I would propose to you the reader, that not only during the Christmas Season, but hopefully every day of our lives, we reach out, we look for a personal presence of those that we care for and who care about us. In this day of social media, things like facebook, e-mail, and instagram, afford us opportunities that were not around in former days, but are now available. My prayer is that we never leave friendship of love at a distance. Yet as convenient as they are, the above are not enough. We need, as members of the human family, to experience firsthand the personal presence of those we love and those who allow us to be loved.
Each one of us lives in God’s heart and as we view the Nativity scenes in our churches or homes, we should be reminded that Christmas visibly brought among us, the Son of God. He cares for each of us more than a mother for her child. Again, God did not want to live his presence among us at a distance. This Word of God, of which St. John speaks in his Gospel, became close to members of the human race, in real time. Through the wonder of the Incarnation, the Word, Jesus, did not just become a historical person that walked and ministered to all, some 2000 years ago. We can take note, every time we hear the Word proclaimed in the Eucharist, and we can be spiritually nourished in the same Mass at the moment of Communion. Jesus became a person who can be followed, loved, and encountered, as Pope Francis would say.
The yearly commemoration of Christmas offers us a completely new kind of real friendship with God. He comes to us to share in our journeys with all our unresolved challenges, our joys, and especially our pains.
Emmanuel, God is with us, comes to live and be with us. Our challenge is to be, in the words of Pope Francis, a Missionary Disciple, that is to share this presence among us.
May you and your family have a Blessed Christmas Season!
Most Rev. Armando X. Ochoa, D.D.