Christmas Eve Vigil Mass

Jan 11, 2018

     On this Holy Eve, where there was a promise, now comes the prize, where there was labor, now rest, where there was despair, now hope.  Previously the way, now we are at last home.

          The heralds of the Divine Promise came to us, but they gave us nothing but rich promises. So bend down to us, O Heavens, and come down, send down upon us the eyes of the merciful Savior. For the prophets tired of long delay of the coming have prayed with great supplication, lamentation and impatience.

     We are now, but one-half day and night from the grand visit, the admirable birth of the Infant God!  Hurry on your course, O hours of time, that we may sooner see the Son of God in His crib, and pay our homage to His world –saving birth.

     We who are sanctified and cleansed from every defilement of soul or body, are ready by our earnest devotion for tomorrow’s mysteries.  For who has confessed their sins and are sorry for them, shall possess within themselves, Him who is the Light of the world.  For the darkness that once deceived them shall be dispelled, as they enjoy the brightness of the true Light.

     For how could mercy be denied to the miserable this night, in which the merciful and compassionate Lord is so mercifully born.  This Holy Eve is indeed a day of grace and hope, and we ought to spend it in spiritual joy.  Let us enter into the spirit of the Church, and prepare ourselves in joy of heart to meet the Savior who is coming to us.  For before we again lay down to rest, we shall have seen Him born, in the solemn Midnight, He Who comes to give light to every creature.  It is the duty of every faithful child of the Catholic Church to celebrate with her this happy night, when in spite of the coldness of the world, the whole universe keeps its watch for the arrival of its Savior.

     As Moses addresses the people of God when he told them of the heavenly manna, which they would receive in the morning -  We too are expecting our Manna, our Jesus, the Bread of Life, Who is born in Bethlehem.  In the city of David which is translated, not by coincidence, to mean “House of Bread.”

In the Epistle, the Apostle St. Paul, in addressing the Romans makes known to them the dignity and holiness of the Gospel, that is, of those good tidings, which the angels are to bring to us This Very Night.

This Gospel today is the passage which relates the trouble of St. Joseph and the visit he received from the angel.  This incident, which forms one of the preludes to the birth of the Savior, could not but enter into the liturgy for Advent.  The Vigil of Christmas was the right day for this Gospel, for another reason: the angel, in speaking to St. Joseph, tells Him that the name to be given to the Child of Mary is Jesus, which signifies that He will save His people from their sins.

     Let us contemplate Our Blessed Lady and her faithful spouse Joseph, leaving the city of Jerusalem and continuing their journey to Bethlehem.  In obedience to the will of Heaven, they immediately go the place where their names are to be enrolled, as the emperor’s edict requires.  There is entered in the public register, Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth in Galilee.  To his name , Mary’s name, spouse of the above named Joseph is added.  After which Mary and Joseph go from house to house for lodging and no one would receive them.  He must go and seek a crib in the stable of poor dumb beasts.

     There the angels will sing to Him, the shepherds and Magi will bring Him their offerings.  He will meet the ox that knows its Owner, and the ass that knows its Master’s crib! O Savior of men, Emmanuel, Jesus! We too will go to this stable of Bethlehem.  Your new birth, which is tonight, shall not be without loving and devoted hearts to bless it.  At this very hour, you are knocking at the doors of Bethlehem, and who is there that will take you in? Ah sweet Jesus! You shall not be refused here!  I beg you enter my house.  I have been watching and longing for you.  Come Lord Jesus! Come!