Friday, December 26, 2014

J.M.J. Jesus Christ first came to our world more than 2,000 years ago. Each Christmas is a privileged opportunity to welcome Him once again into our hungry hearts. No matter how we behaved during 2014, we may benefit spiritually from this festive commemoration of His Birth if we only turn to Him, accept His abundant grace and be reconciled to Him.

The mere prospect of Jesus' arrival should do something positive deep within us. We should be excited to receive Him. And we must recognize how unworthy and unprepared we really are to embrace fully the Prince of Peace.

But despite our painful and real sinfulness, we pray that we may welcome Him with joy and enthusiasm, recognizing that the long-awaited Emmanuel--"God-with-us"--is in our midst.

Decades ago, G. A. Studdert-Kennedy wrote a poem that was later referred to by the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen in one of his many conferences that compared how Christ was treated on Golgotha with how He may be regarded if He came today to Birmingham, England. We can substitute our hometown--or any town--for Birmingham.

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When Jesus came to Golgotha, they nailed Him to a tree. 

They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds, and deep.
For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham, they only passed Him by.

They would not hurt a hair of His, they only let Him die.
For men had grown more tender, they would not wish Him pain.
They only passed down the street, and left Him in the rain--the winter rains that drenched Him through and through.

And when all the crowds had left the street, Jesus crouched against a wall, and sighed for Calvary.

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Perhaps Our Blessed Lord would rather be rejected with gusto than be ignored. Let us do neither. Instead, let us immediately open our arms to Him and give Him the attention, love and obedience that He roundly deserves.

How will we welcome Jesus? Each of us must now decide.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on us.

Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, Foster-father of the Christ, pray for us.

Saint Stephen, Protomartyr, pray for us.

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