Back before there was any Santa Claus. Back before Santa’s prototype, St. Nicolas, people celebrated the birthday of Jesus with a special Mass. The Mass was so central to the celebration that it was called Christ’s-Mass-Day, later shortened to Christmas Day.
I have been offering Mass almost every day for sixty-four years, so let me say something about the Mass being the big part of our Christmas. First of all, I see it rooted in the Last Supper.
Jesus, as the host at the Last Supper, offered up the ritual blessing on behalf of everyone at table with him. In using his own words that night, he asked everyone to join him in a three-part table blessing.
He is here with us now, asking us to join him, first in thanking God for the many favors we have received from God. We must pause now, thinking God for our parents, our bodies, our friends, and the tunes that have become part of us.
Next, as the second part of his traditional blessing, Jesus asks you to be aware of God in whom we live. He asks us to join him in speaking familiarly to our Father.
Then, for the most important part of all, he makes himself into a pleasing gift to the Father. He does that as our representative human; and he does that while pleading with us to make ourselves part of that Pleasing Gift, that Eucharist.
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