December 30, 2019
Dear Family of Mary!
Here is the transcript of the English Translation of the Homily for Midnight Mass at St.James Church, given by Archbishop Hoser. It is amazing!!
Christmas Midnight Mass
December 24-25, 2019
Papal Visitor – Archbishop Henryk Hoser
Christ, Son of Justice, was bestowed upon us by the Virgin Mary.
Silent Night, Holy Night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child.
Holy Infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in Heavenly Peace,
Sleep in Heavenly Peace!
Dear Brothers and Sisters; Parishioners and Dear Pilgrims,
The great Christmas Liturgy begins at the threshold of night, at the Vigil Mass. At Midnight, the first solemn mass is celebrated, which is called the Shepherd’s Mass, the Midnight Mass. It is followed by the Dawn Mass, the Mass of the Angels. The third mass is the Christmas Day Mass, which is called the Mass of the Kings.
Midnight is now upon us. It is a great night! An extraordinary night, during which we keep watch. A night in which we feel nostalgia, in which we rejoice! To us a child is born! To us a son is given!
This night is preceded by time of expectation, spiritual and material preparation. Prayer in the Advent and the renewal of the Sacrament of Reconciliation have revived and empowered us. And some even have experienced this here in Medjugorje.
There have been three great nights in the history of mankind that preceded this one. The first was the night of creation, when God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light! The second was the night of Abraham, the night of faith, when God said, “Look to the Heavens and count the stars, if you can count them.” And then, He added, “So will your descendants be.” Thus, Abraham became the father of all believers. The third was the night of the Exodus out of Egypt and the liberation from slavery. On that night, I will pass through the land of Egypt, the Lord will punish all the Egyptian gods as well. We find ourselves in a night of Bethlehem, a Holy Night. After 33 years of the earthly life of the One born this night comes the great night of the Resurrection of the Lord.
Why does God honor night so much that He chooses it for such events? There are many reasons. At night, we see light more clearly. Even the smallest light illuminates our darkness. We can also hear better and better understand the word spoken in silence. So, the Light of Christ and His Word reaches us in the night, and in darkness of our soul and our heart.
If we are waiting for something in the night, we must keep vigil. Jesus speaks of the coming of the bridegroom. At midnight, the cry rang out, “Here is the bridegroom. Come out to meet him!” Jesus also speaks of the arrival of the thief. Understand this. If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. The coming of the Lord at the end of our lives is equally sudden, unexpected. The Day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.
Jesus also gives us the parable of a rich man who enjoys life and trusts in his riches. But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you, and who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
Things can happen secretly in the night. Now, there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council, who came to Jesus at night. Oh no! The people who come out of fear, is the church.
Tonight, we celebrate the Holy Night full of light. Saint Luke tells us that in the region of Bethlehem, there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby keeping watch over their flocks at night. The Angel of the Lord appeared to them. The Glory of the Lord shone round them, and they were terrified. Night turned into day, because the Glory of the Lord shone through them with the light. Isaiah’s prophecy came true. People walking in darkness have seen a great light! On those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned!
In the daytime mass, we will hear the words from the beginning of John’s gospel that speak of this newborn child. In Him was life, and that life is the light of all mankind. And the light shines in darkness. And the darkness has not overcome it.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us admit that each of us has experienced painful darkness, and radiant joy. Darkness of reason, the darkness of memory, the darkness of activity, the darkness of suffering of soul and body. There have been times in moments of darkness in the family, at work, at the side of life, that is why we are frightened, concerned, depressive, and desperate. Why are so many young people, even children, committing the drama and disaster of suicide in the very springtime of their lives? Why is this? It is because, we remain in the darkness, spread by the prince of darkness, the prince of world.
We must seek the right source of light. And this is the one, the Child born in Bethlehem. He is life! He is the light! He is justice, peace, love and mercy. Without Him, our life goes to ruin. When faith disappears, life’s joy disappears, and the meaning of life disappears. He gave Himself to us to redeem us from our wickedness, to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. This is what Saint Titus tells us today.
First to get to the stable were shepherds, ordinary and poor people. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news! I will cause great joy for all the peoples. Today in the town of David, a savior has been born to us. He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you, you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the Heavenly Host appeared praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest! And on earth, peace to those on whom His favor rests.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Fear not! Fear not! Proclaim the good news to the whole world! We are accompanied by the just love of the Lord, of the entire world. Glory to God in the Highest and Peace to His People on earth!
Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! And may Peace be with you all! Amen!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!