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Sunday:       Christmas Mass at Dawn
Date:         December 25, 2016.
Year:         A
The readings: [Is. 62:11-12; Tit. 3:4-7; Lk. 2:15-20]
The message:  A light will shine on us this day.
Prepared by:  Catholic Doors Ministry.
Total words:  946

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** The readings follow the sermon.

Good morning everyone! Something must have happened during the early hours of the night. I see so many cheerful spirits today! All are fully awakened with smiles on their faces and sparkling eyes. Indeed, a Light shines on us on this very special day! Today, we are celebrating Christmas Day, remembering the birth of the Infant Jesus who came into this world as our Saviour.

For the little ones, it must have been very difficult this morning to leave their homes that have been nicely decorated for this special celebration. It must have been hard leaving all those beautiful presents that can bring so many hours of entertainment. But, in the love of Jesus, they sacrificed everything for a little while so that they may have the opportunity to come to Church today to say thank you to Baby Jesus for all the goods things that He has given them.

Over two thousand years ago, our Heavenly Father promised to Zion, another name for Jerusalem, that her reward would come. The people of Jerusalem had offended God prior to those days and they had been punished by going into slavery. Now that their punishment had been served, God was going to reward them. God was going to give His people that He loved so much their salvation. To do so, He would send the Messiah, Baby Jesus, into the world.

And when Baby Jesus would grow up and complete His work as the perfect sacrifice for the redemption of the world, those who believe in Him and obey His teachings, God would call them "The Holy People," "The Redeemed of the Lord," the "Sought Out," and "A City Not Forsaken." For in Jerusalem would be the beginning of the spiritual Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven. From Jerusalem, through Jesus, would begin the fulfillment of God's promises.

When Jesus, our Saviour, came into this world, it was as an act of goodness and loving kindness of God. Jesus did not come into the world to save us because of what our ancestors did or because of the good works that we do. The coming of Jesus into the world was an act of mercy from God to secure our entrance enter the Kingdom of Heaven. To enter the Kingdom of God, we have to be born again through faith in Jesus by water and Spirit [Jn. 3:5], by water through the Sacrament of Baptism and by Spirit through our sanctification by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit who enriches us in faith, hope and charity.

By the grace of God the Father, in His abounding Divine love, we have been blessed richly by the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Through Jesus, we are justified, being made righteous in the eyes of God. Through our newly received justification, we qualify to become heirs as children of God in order to inherit our hope of eternal life in the ongoing beatific vision of God. Praise be the Lord God for His goodness and loving kindness towards us all.

Two thousand years ago, God sent a shining angel during the night to some shepherds who were watching their sheep in the field. The angel announced the good news, that our Saviour Jesus had been born. Then, a multitude of angels appeared, singing and praising God for His goodness and loving kindness towards mankind.

When the angels had left, the shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem to see Baby Jesus who had just been born. Rushing to Bethlehem, they came upon Mary and Joseph, and a little Baby Boy who was laying in a manger. When they had found Jesus, they told those who were present what the angel had told them about Jesus.

When the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, heard what the shepherds had said to them, she reflected on the words and kept them all in her heart. What great joy she must have experienced in knowing once more that she was the Mother of the Saviour. This was not the first time that Mary had heard that her Child would be the Saviour. The angel Gabriel had told her the same thing when he announced to her the birth of Jesus nine months earlier.

Filled with joy, the shepherds returned to their fields, glorifying and praising God for all what they had heard and seen, just like it had been told to them by the angel.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, little children, today, the Light of God shines on us as it shined on Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the angels two thousands years ago. We know because, even thought today is a cold Winter day, we can see all the happy spirits around us, the shining eyes and the smiling faces. We know because we can hear the Christmas sounds and see the twinkling lights. We know because we are spiritually elevated in the Divine Presence of Baby Jesus who is with us here today.

In a few moments, we will continue with the celebration of the Holy Mass. Then, all will rush home to celebrate this beautiful Feast with foods and drinks that are worthy of this day. When you all go home today, do not forget this special day. Let every day that will follow be a very special day for you like this one. May the light of our living faith in Jesus shine in your thoughts, your words and your actions for the glory of God the Father.

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The readings...

[The readings were taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (C) 1989 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the United States of America.]

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First Reading...

"The Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth: 'Say to daughter Zion, See, your salvation comes; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.

They shall be called 'The Holy People,' 'The Redeemed of the Lord'; and you shall be called 'Sought Out,' 'A City Not Forsaken.'" [Is. 62:11-2]

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Second Reading...

"When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." [Tit. 3:4-7]

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Gospel Reading...

"When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.'

So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.

But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them." [Lk. 2:15-20]

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