Feast of the Circumcision, January 1, 2017
“The Light of the World” (Mt.5:14)
The world has missed another Christmas. It was there all the time, of course – the starry night, the adoring shepherds, the angelic choirs, the traditional Midnight Mass. The Church pondered once more the mystery of the Incarnation and the Nativity of the Divine Child. The Introit of the Mass of the Sunday after Christmas begins:
“Dum medium silentium…” – “While all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, your almighty Word, O Lord, leapt down from your royal throne” (Wis.18:14,15).
Like the Holy Mother of God, Mary, we ponder these things in our hearts. The Traditional Latin Liturgy invites contemplation. It thrives in silence and watchfulness, for it is itself “the word made flesh” in a true sense, as are all the sacraments. It presents to us under veiled forms the substance of the Mysteries of which St. John writes in his first Epistle:
“I write of what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and our hands have handled: of the Word of Life. And the Life was made known and we have seen, and now testify and announce to you, the Life Eternal which was with the Father, and has appeared to us” (1Jn.1,2).
But the Christmas we have just witnessed had little to do with Jesus Christ. His enemies have succeeded in blotting out His memory from the minds of men, or at least of diverting their attention away from Him by pushing the things of this world into their faces, giving them little time to think about this holy season, or even to think at all. During this fake Christmas, where were the Christmas carols, the Nativity scenes with the Child Jesus, and Mary and Joseph, and the angels and the shepherds? They were scarcely to be seen anywhere. The One whose birth we should be celebrating is left to shiver in the cold of the Bethlehem stable.
Christmas is now all about the pagan Santa Claus, once the Christian St. Nicholas. Our Lord has faded away in the mind of the world. And where Jesus Christ is not known error and confusion reign. To know the truth you must know Jesus Christ, who IS the Truth. But the powers of darkness, the devil and his evil crowd have worked tirelessly to destroy Jesus Christ and blot out even the memory of Him from the minds of men. He is forgotten and despised. Jesus Himself told us:
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love what is its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I have spoken to you: No servant is greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also; if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do for my name’s sake, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin. But now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father also” (Jn.15:18-23).
The world does indeed hate us. In many countries, Catholics and other Christians are being persecuted, driven from their lands, and slaughtered. It is only a matter of time before we see what many have already seen. How can we not mourn for what is being done to the Holy Catholic Church, and to our Holy Faith? The Great Persecution prophesied in Holy Scripture has begun. We read in the Book of the Apocalypse of St. John, the last book of the Bible, about the great multitude standing before the Throne of God with palms in their hands. St. John gives us this explanation:
“These are they who have come out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb… the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them, and will guide them to the fountains o the waters of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Apoc.7:14;17).
It is within our power to change even now. We can make Christ our King by giving Him first place in our lives. We can make Him our King by being His obedient servants. We can make Him our King by no longer offending Him by sin. We can make Him our King by living our Catholic Faith to the fullest. Our Lord, Himself the Light of the World, said of us also:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a lamp and put it under the measure, but upon the lampstand, so as to give light to all in the house. Even so let your light shine before men, in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt.5:14-16).
Jesus Christ has become virtually invisible to the world, but if we live our lives as we should we will bring Him back as the true Light of the World, Christ the King. Soon we will recall the prophetic words of the ancient Simeon, as the Child Jesus is presented in the Temple:
“Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word, in peace; because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light of revelation to the gentiles, and a glory for thy people Israel” (Lk.2:29-32).
But those who refuse to recognize Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, and who destroy the faith of others, especially the little ones, must pay for their wickedness. The psalms pronounce their judgment:
“O my God, make them like leaves in a whirlwind, like chaff before the wind. As a fire raging in a forest, as a flame setting the mountains ablaze, so pursue them with your tempest and rout them with your storm. Darken their faces with disgrace, that men may seek your name, O Lord. Let them be shamed and put to rout forever; let them be confounded and perish, knowing that you alone are the Lord, the Most High over all the earth” (Ps.82:14-19).