Celebrant: Through the hands of the Virgin who gave birth to Christ the Lord, we now present our needs to God.
That our Holy Father and all bishops, priests, and deacons may effectively proclaim to the world the joyful news that God is with us, we pray to the Lord...
That all who have been elected to public office may know the presence of God in their daily challenges and decisions, we pray to the Lord...
That following St. Joseph's example, all fathers may be strengthened in love for their wives and for their children, born and unborn, we pray to the Lord…
For the safety of our troops and for the continued growth of freedom in troubled parts of the world, we pray to the Lord...
That those who suffer illness, loneliness, discrimination or depression may know that they belong to Jesus Christ, and may find peace in Him, we pray to the Lord...
That all who have died may have eternal rest and peace, we pray to the Lord...
Father, we rejoice at the closenessof the Feast of our Savior's birth.May we find in Himthe fulfillment of all our desires.We ask this through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
All Oppression Shall Cease
The Christmas song “O Holy Night” includes the following words: “Truly he taught us to love one another. His law is love, and his gospel is peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother, and in his name all oppression shall cease.”
This is a reminder that as we celebrate Christmas, we renew our commitment to ending all oppression, particularly of those who are most oppressed, the children living before birth within their mothers…children who have been deprived of legal protection, and are oppressed by the mythology of choice.
In the name of the newborn Christ, the oppression of our unborn children will cease. May Christmas give us the strength to be silent no more, and more active than ever in the pro-life cause.
Is 7:10-14Rom 1:1-7Mt 1:18-24
Watch a video with homily hintsOn the verge of Christmas, on the verge of the celebration of welcoming Christ into the world, the readings today focus on the virginity of Mary. Today’s homily can draw out the significance of what this says about us. Mary, after all, symbolizes the whole Church. She received Christ into her virginal body. The Church, too, as the Bride of Christ – and each of us individually – is called to a total fidelity which is symbolized by the virginity of Mary.
In other words, whatever the vocation of each of us, this spiritual (if not physical) virginity means we have no Lord besides Jesus. We do not worship false gods or become intimate with other deities.
As Mary welcomed Christ in her virginity, so does the Church. “It is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her,” the Gospel passage tells us. So can we say, “It is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in us,” and “It is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in the world.” No human effort brings about Christmas. But by our “virginal” fidelity, the Spirit brings him forth into the world through us.
This is the “obedience of faith” of which Paul speaks in the second reading.
And part of this virginal fidelity, part of this obedience of faith, is our commitment to be pro-life. “God is with us” means that he is on the side of every human life, against all that would destroy it. So must we be.