On Christmas Eve, worshippers were reminded that the light of Christ still shines in the world today
FORT WAYNE — Candles and brightly lit Christmas trees enhanced the majesty of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Dec. 24, as the gift of a Savior given to mankind on that holy night was remembered as the clock drew near to midnight.
Worshippers celebrated in joyous fraternity the Christmas liturgy said by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades and concelebrant Jacob Runyon, who were assisted by Deacons Brian Isenbarger and LeeAllen Fortin. And from the angels’ proclamation through the glory of what the shepherds found in the manger, the incomprehensible act of God taking on the form of a human child was pondered and revered.
In his homily, Bishop Rhoades noted that by coming from the highest heaven to earth in a dependent and weak human form, God’s glory became a glory of humility and love. On the holy night, that glory, appearing in the infant Jesus, “causes us, like the shepherds, to be astonished and to be filled with joy, joy in the fact that we are so loved by God that he assumed our human nature to save us and to open heaven for us,” he said. “Let us allow this joy to touch our hearts, the joy that comes from faith, faith in God’s truth, goodness, and love.” “Tonight, he added, “We praise God for the beauty, for the greatness, and for the goodness that became visible on this holy night.”
The bishop said hope and peace have been brought to all people by the eternal God entering into the history of each person. All are called to share that hope and peace, “to be heralds of His peace in today’s world, to carry the light of his peace and give it to others.”
“In the midst of so much division in our nation, in the midst of what seem to be endless political and social conflicts, the Lord calls us to resist condemnation of others and to promote reconciliation,” he told those present in the late night. “In the midst of the suffering of the coronavirus pandemic, the Lord calls us to bring healing, comfort, and hope. In the midst of indifference toward the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable, the Lord calls us to be active in love and generosity, defenders of human life and dignity, and never to be resigned to injustice.”
He also calls all people to not be indifferent to the environmental destruction that hurts the poor and threatens the future of the plan, he noted: Additionally, he calls people not to be indifferent to the sufferings of people fleeing poverty, war and persecution, but instead to welcome those seeking a less precarious and more secure existence for their children.
“We must not be indifferent like the priest and levite who walked by the man robbed and beaten, lying on the side of the road, but like the Good Samaritan who came to his aid. God is the Good Samaritan. He was not indifferent to the plight of his children on earth – He came among us.”
However dense the darkness may appear at times, mankind’s hope for the triumph of the light that appeared on that holy night at Bethlehem is stronger still.
“With Isaiah, we believe in the great light that still shines upon those who walk in darkness and who dwell in the land of gloom. The light of Christ does shine in our world.
“There is so much good being done by men and women who daily live their faith, their work, their dedication to their families and to the good of society. Christmas teaches us never to lose hope in the power of God’s love and to patiently persevere in doing good and loving one another as brothers and sisters.”
He prayed that Mary and Joseph would help all Christians to experience the joy of Christmas and to bear witness in the world to the truth, love and peace of the Child they lovingly wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in the manger. Addressing the Divine Child, he implored the Prince of Peace to bless those present and their families with the grace of His love and His peace.
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