“God Has a Plan for Us”

Are you ready yet?  It’s almost here!  In two short days from right now we begin an incredible  celebration! This is a time like none other.  For on Christmas day we rejoice in the birth of our savior and marvel at the glorious gift God has given us:  His plan for our salvation.

That wonderful plan God revealed to us in today’s readings.  Did you catch it?  If we trust in his Word and obey his will, he will draw us to himself and we will gain his peace and eternal life with him in heaven.  It’s such a simple yet ingenious plan that applies to everyone.

His plan begins to unfold with the miracle of Christmas. The birth of Jesus initiates thefulfillment of every promise God has made to mankind throughout the ages. Mary and Elizabeth show ushow God’s favor came to be with them and so also with us.  It begins by putting your trust in God.

Both Mary and Elizabeth are called by God to be mothers at very unexpected and difficult times in their lives.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, an old woman who was considered barren, and a teenage girl who had never been with a man, conceive sons that forever change the world.  They had a choice to make and they chose to surrender their doubts and fears to God – trusting in His plan for them to bring His goodness, His grace and His peace into the world.

The prophet Micah, in our first reading, tells us that the mystery of the incarnation is revealed to everyone, including ordinary people who live ordinary lives. He foretells that a ruler greater than King David will come from a tiny, backwater village, too small to be counted among the clans of Judah. He lets us know that you don’t need to come from a well-off family to be important to God. All that is required to share in the mystery of Our Lord’s incarnation is an open heart that trusts in God and a readiness to do his will.

Have you ever been in a difficult situation?  If you have, I hope you followed the example of Mary and Elizabeth. They show us that the believer is truly blessed every time they trust in God’s word.  No matter what uncertainties we face, or worries that trouble us, if we have faith, God will lead us to the healing, support and consolation we need in our life.

But the real reason we rejoice at Christmas isn’t just the birth of the infant Jesus!  In fact, that’s just the beginning of our joy.  God’s plan, we are told, achieves its completion in Our Lord’s sacrifice that we celebrate in the Eucharist.

St. Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews, confirms that is the reason for our celebration. Listen again to what Christ said in prayer to His Father:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, But a body you prepared for me.  As it is written, Behold, I have come to do your will.”

Our Lord’s obedience to his Father, in accepting his passion and death on the cross, became the ultimate and eternal offering to God for the forgiveness of our sins.  The pure andspotless body prepared for Jesus at his birth…he freely and obediently offers in sacrifice to His Father for our redemption. Because Jesus did that for us, all humanity has been consecrated to God and made holy once again.

There’s nothing we could ever do to surpass the divine sacrifice God’s newborn son made on our behalf. The glorious plan God has for our salvation, begun with the birth of Jesus, is
realized in His eternal sacrifice of love. That’s what we rejoice in at Christmastime and what we celebrate at every Mass!

We express our gratitude and joy for God’s gracious love in praying the Eucharistic prayer at Mass. In that prayer we ask God to remember us, whose faith and devotion is known to Him.  We affirm that our sacrifice is a sacrifice of praise, offered in thanksgiving for the redemption of our souls: redemption brought about by Jesus, the living and true God!  In humble prayer we ask God the Father to accept the gift of our service to him, and to count us among the flock he has chosen in his Son.

No wonder we can hardly wait for Christmas to come. In two short days we will celebrate a truly glorious, exciting and electrifying event!  What a wonderful gift we have received in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ: A gift made possible by Mary’s trust in God and the obedience of her son to his Father’s will.

As we get ready to rejoice in the Feast of the Incarnation, take a moment to recognize that God has a plan for each one of us; and that plan, our salvation, is accomplished right here in his Son.

May you and your family have a very blessed Christmas!

Deacon Mark