Thursday, December 24, 2015
Not long ago I saw a Japanese movie called "Departures". I will not spoil your viewing by telling the story line. However one aspect of the film intrigued me: three non-Christian Japanese gathered around a table-top lighted Christmas tree. They each wished each other a Merry Christmas. Then to bring some music into their celebration, the main character in the film asks permission to play the Ave Maria on his cello. It was a lovely scene. Christmas has a strength of its own. the appeal of a tiny new-born is irresistible at least for me. Maybe it is my feminine nature, but I feel like cradling every tiny infant I see in my arms. This instinct was helpful last weekend when I attended a family gathering here in New England. During the day there were two infants, both about 6 months old. the little boy was not as big, since he had a number of problems at birth which slowed his growth. Yet his eyes kept following me. The 6 month old girl looked like a tiny elf with her red and white outfit. Yet how beautiful Jesus must have looked to Mary and Joseph. My nephew Ben was photographed as he planted the first kiss on his new born son, Bennett. I have that picture as a screen saver on my office computer. The tenderness of that photo reminds me of the tenderness God has toward each of us. Pope Francis often asks us to "be tender" with one another. Francis has declared the present time as a Year of Mercy. In his Letter which announced and explained what is the Year of Mercy, he shows us that God's mercy comes in several ways. One of the ways which people have neglected in the last several years is Confession/the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Why not take advantage of God's tender mercy given to us in the Sacrament of Forgiveness/Confession/Reconciliation. I pray that our celebration of Christ's birth as a tiny Infant will lead you all to experience for yourselves what the kiss of the Father is to his child, you and me, in the Sacrament of Confession and in the gift of his life in the Eucharist. I promise all my readers that I will pray for you at Mass tonight (Christmas Eve) and in all my Masses until the New Year. Merry Christmas! May your soul bask in the love that God has for you and be at peace as this new born baby.