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When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed.
Two days after Christ’s birth do I see things differently? Is this another Christmas that has simply come and gone? Am I relieved it is over? Well, let’s not rush back so quickly to our daily grind! The Church will continue to celebrate Christ’s birth for another six days! Yes, we will continue to proclaim, celebrate and contemplate on the scandal of God becoming man, God becoming flesh and blood, God becoming an infant.
Think about it for a moment. Christ’s physical presence must have kept the Apostles going when they went through the dark nights of their souls. They must have recalled and repeated in their hearts and minds, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands, concerns the Word of life - for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us.” (1Jn 1-4). The Apostle John wrote like this because to encourage his dying brothers and sisters to hold on for dear life to their faith. We too must learn from him. Regardless of the pain and suffering we endure, let us never forget the intimate contact we have had with the Lord. Let’s not wish Christmas away right away.
As I write this meditation, I do so from John F. Kennedy airport in New York City. I am finally excited about my trip to the Holy Land. It will be a beautiful continuation of Christ’s birth, Christ’s miracles, Christ’s sermons and Christ’s passion and resurrection. I just found out that when we visit Bethlehem, I will be celebrating Christmas Day Mass again! When we visit Jerusalem, the Mass will be of Easter Sunday. It turns out, regardless of the time of year, that all groups have permission from Rome to celebrate the Liturgy that corresponds to the life of Christ in that particular location. How wonderful! How amazing! How eternal! How everlasting! The City of God on earth! If only I would do that in my heart, mind and soul every day of my life!
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that the Word made flesh, proclaimed by the blessed Apostle John, may, through this mystery which we have celebrated, ever dwell among us. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.