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Celebrate the Great Mystery

Dec 24

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12/24/2017 12:00 AM  RssIcon

What a beautiful time of year. Even this year, with the Fourth Sunday of Advent falling on Christmas Eve, it is one of the best times of the year to be a priest. We get to celebrate unique and tender moments in the history of Salvation, in the history of God working with His people to bring us back into a relationship with Himself. And it is such a joy to celebrate with the parishioners of these two excellent parishes.

Once again this year, I am struck by both the tremendous scope of what we celebrate and the incredible intimacy of the retelling of the events. Throughout Advent, especially in these later stages of Advent when we look to the birth of Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem, the Church reviews all of the ancient prophecies that are fulfilled in this singular event. From the Garden of Eden, to the Kingship of David, to the prophecies of Isaiah and Malachi; the weight of history is focused in a small manger, and how incredible it is.

And while all of this takes place in a decidedly Jewish context, there are hints throughout the universality of these events. In the genealogy of Jesus at the beginning of Matthew’s account of the Gospel, there are four women mentioned who are all Gentiles: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and the ‘wife of Uriah,’ also known as Bathsheba. The Navarre Commentary on the New Testament comments of these four women: ‘These were all foreigners who, remarkably, were drawn into the history of Israel, that is, into salvation history, in which men and women equally have a place. In the Gospel of Matthew these four women are a symbol (one of many) of the fact that divine salvation extends to everyone.’

This week, we have the opportunity to enter in to the heart of this very mystery as we once again celebrate the Birth of Jesus at Christmas. There is a tenderness and an intimacy that happens here. The Lord God, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, the Logic behind all of creation; comes to dwell with us and undo the effects of Original Sin so that we can return to Him.

How great is our God! His love for us is so powerful that He does not want to restore us to an earthly paradise in the Garden of Eden; but rather wants to bring us back home again to where He dwells.

My prayer for you as we celebrate this great mystery is that the birth of Jesus might bring you the great joy experienced by the shepherds and that we might all strive to place Him more and more at the heart of all that we do as His disciples.

God Bless,
Fr. Kyle Schnippel


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