Readings & Homily Christmas – Mass at Night 25th December

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Readings Christmas – Mass at Night 25th December

The Nativity of our Lord
Readings and Antiphons on p. 115 of the Daily Missal.

Entrance Antiphon.
The Lord said to me:  You are my Son.  It is I who have begotten  you this day.

First Reading: Isaiah 9:2-7

A reading from the Book of Isaiah.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined.You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people rejoice when they divide the spoil.For the yoke of their burden,
and the staff for their shoulder,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.For to us, a child is born,
to us, a son is given;
and the government will be upon his shoulder,
and his name will be called
“Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom,
to establish it, and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 11-12, 13 (R. cf. Luke 2:11)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm:

R/. To us is born this day a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.

O sing a new song to the Lord;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
O sing to the Lord; bless his name.

Proclaim his salvation day by day.
Tell among the nations his glory,
and his wonders among all the peoples.

Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad;
let the sea and all within it thunder praise.
Let the land and all it bears rejoice.

Then will all the trees of the wood shout for joy
at the presence of the Lord, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice;
he will govern the peoples with his truth.

R/. To us is born this day a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.

Second Reading: Titus 2:11-14

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to Titus.

Brothers and sisters:
The grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people,
training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions
and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world,
awaiting our blessed hope,
the appearing of the glory
of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity
and to purify for himself a people of his own
who are zealous for good deeds.

The Word of the Lord.

Please stand for the Gospel.

Alleluia, Alleluia.
I bring you good news of a great joy:
to us is born this day a Saviour, Christ the Lord.

Gospel: Luke 2:1-14

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that all the world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrolment
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee,
from the city of Nazareth to Judea,
to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and lineage of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

And while they were there,
the time came for her to be delivered.
And she gave birth to her first-born son
and wrapped him in swaddling cloths,
and laid him in a manger
because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were filled with fear.
And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid;
for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy
which will come to all the people;
for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths
and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Communion Antiphon.
The Word became flesh, and we have seen his glory.


When I was growing up in Carletonville, Midnight mass was always a special time for my family.

  • I remember going to the church early so that we would get seats for Mass.

We would all be singing carols while we waited for Mass to begin.

After Mass, we would come home all excited.

It was our family custom to have champagne and mince pies – and to open presents.

This was in the 1960’s, and Dad would open a bottle of Cinzano Spumante. Sipping on the sparking wine was a highlight for us kids

There would be lots of mince pies and Mom had to feed 5 hungry boys

My mom used to bake 8 dozen mince pies so that they would last for the Christmas season. The whole family was roped in and Mom had an assembly line in operation to prepare them for baking.

Then we would open presents.

We didn’t have much money growing up, so we were always aware of the love of mom and dad in the presents they bought for us.

My dad  – in quiet way that he had – would remind us why we had presents: Presents are a reminder of  God’s love for us.

The origin of giving gifts at Christmas come from the Magi (or Three Wise Men), who brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Baby Jesus in the manger.

There is also St. Nicholas, whose feast was celebrated on 6th December. He was known to leave gifts in shoes or stockings and this tradition grew in popularity in Germanic nations.

When we present gifts to each other, it is a reminder that our lives are to be our gift to Jesus.

Receiving gifts reminds us in some small way of the ultimate gift we receive in salvation through Jesus.

Exchanging gifts reminds us that each person in our life is a gift from God.

I sometimes think that each year we celebrate two Christmases.

  • One Christmas is the commercial Christmas of the shops – beautiful carols turned into jingles/elevator music played endlessly
  • Advertising constantly saying: Buy! Buy! Buy!
  • Buy something new and different.
  • SA shutting down and going away for the holidays
  • The political correctness saying “happy holidays” instead of acknowledging Christ.

Then there is the real Christmas of family celebrating the birth of Christ:

  • Coming to mass
  • Looking at our Christmas tree with family names on the baubles – families united in faith 
  • It is about letting the influence of Christ transform my life into something meaningful
  • It is about sharing and giving.

Pope Francis gave his Christmas Message on the 23rd December and he said this:

  • “Christmas is celebrating the unexpected of God, or better, celebrating the unexpected God, who overturns our logic and our expectations.”
  • This leads us to ask: What Christmas would God want, which gifts, which surprises?

Let us look at the first Christmas in history to discover what God wants for us.

  • That first Christmas in history was full of surprises.
  • It begins with Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph.
  • Then the Angel arrived and changed her life.
  • He told her that God wants her to be the mother of Jesus, who was to be the Saviour of the World.
  • From a virgin, she became a mother.
  • She continued with Joseph, who was called upon to be father to a son he had not generated.
  • This is a son who – in a plot twist – arrives at the least convenient moment:
    • He arrives when Mary and Joseph were betrothed and according to the Jewish Law, could not cohabit.

Faced with scandal, common sense invited Joseph to repudiate Mary and save his good name,

  • but Joseph, despite having the right to do this, surprises us:
  • He does not want to harm Mary, so he decides to leave her secretly,
    • at the cost of losing his own reputation.

Then there comes another surprise:

  • God sends an angel – a messenger – in a dream, and asks him to change his plans and to take Mary home with him.
  • And so Jesus was born.
  • Joseph would have had his plans for the family,
    • Most likely it involved returning to Nazareth.
    • Once again, in a dream, he is told to get up and go to Egypt.
  • In short, Christmas leads to unexpected changes of life.
  • And if we want to live Christmas,
    • we must open our heart and be willing to receive surprises,
    • that is, an unexpected change of life.

But it is on Christmas Day that the greatest surprise arrives: God has come as a little baby.

  • The Saviour of the world is welcomed not by the authorities of the time or the place, or ambassadors.
  • Jesus is not welcomed by kings and queens and famous people.
  • Instead, Jesus is welcomed by simple shepherds.
  • The shepherds were out in the fields working at night, and they were surprised by Angels bringing a wonderful message.
  • So the shepherds rush to the baby Jesus without delay.

So, Christmas is celebrating the unexpected of God, or better, celebrating the unexpected God, who overturns our logic and our expectations.

Celebrating Christmas, then, means welcoming on earth, the surprises of Heaven.

  • Christmas inaugurates a new age:
    • It is a time in which one lives not for oneself, on the basis of one’s own tastes,
    • but for God, and with God,
    • because from Christmas onwards God is God-with-us, Who lives with us, Who walks with us.
  • Living Christmas means letting oneself be shaken by its surprising newness.

Celebrating Christmas is doing as Jesus did.

  • Jesus came for us in need,
  • It is doing as Mary did:
    • Mary says Yes to God, she is trusting and obedient to God, even without understanding what God will do.

Celebrating Christmas is doing as Joseph did:

  • Joseph says Yes to God, even if it means not following his plans.
  • Saint Joseph is surprising:
    • in the Gospel he never speaks,
    • there is not one word from Joseph in the Gospel,
    • and the Lord speaks to him in silence.
    • God speaks to him in his sleep.
    • Christmas means favouring the silent voice of God over the noise of consumerism.

Spend some time in silence before the Nativity scene.

  • Look at Joseph, Mary, the Shepherds, the Angels, the Magi and think about their experiences.
  • Christmas will be for us a surprise as well, not something we have already seen.
  • I invite us to stay in contemplation before the Nativity scene.
  • Take some time this Christmas season, and go in front of the Nativity scene and remain in silence.
  • And you will feel, you will see the surprises.
  • Unfortunately, in the world of consumerism, Christmas ends tomorrow.
    • The Christmas decorations and advertising come down, and soon we will see ‘Back to school’ specials.
    • But for us, Christmas has just started, and it continues until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on the 9th January, 2023.

If Christmas remains only a nice traditional feast, where we are at the centre of everything, and not Jesus, it will be a lost opportunity.

So, it will be Christmas if, like Joseph, we give space to silence;

  • it will be Christmas if, like Mary, we say “here I am” to God;
  • it will be Christmas if, like Jesus, we are close to those who are alone;
  • it will be Christmas if, like the shepherds, we come out of our enclosures to stay with Jesus.
  • It will be Christmas if we find light in the poor grotto of Bethlehem.
  • It will not be Christmas if we seek the dazzling lights of the world,
    • if we fill ourselves up with gifts, lunches and dinnersbut do not help at least one poor or lonely person,
    who resembles God, because at Christmas, God became poor.

Dear friends, I wish you a Blessed Christmas, a Christmas rich in the surprises of Jesus.

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