On behalf of the seminarians, faculty and staff of Saint John’s Seminary, I want to wish you and your families a blessed, joyful, and healthy Christmas!
Every year, at Midnight Mass on Christmas, the Gospel of Luke tells us about Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem to be enrolled in the census commanded by Caesar Augustus. As Mary gives birth to Jesus in the humblest of settings, Luke goes on to say that the glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds, and they received the “good news of great joy that a savior has been born who is Christ and Lord.” The Glory of God is visibly present, and a multitude of the heavenly host praises God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reminds us that “the speech of angels is actually song, in which all the glory of the great joy that they proclaim becomes tangibly present… From that moment, the angels’ song of praise has never gone silent. It continues down the centuries in constantly new form and it resounds ever anew at the celebration of Jesus’ birth”(Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, 73). The very next verses of Luke’s Gospel (read at the Christmas Mass at Dawn) testify to this as the shepherds who were the first to hear the good news, become the first to see the Christ child, As they return to their flocks, they now join with Mary and Joseph, “glorifying and praising God.” They are the first of many heralds of the Good News of Jesus Christ (down through the centuries to our own day).
Today, we join with the Church around the world in continuing to offer praise and glory to God for the gift of His Son. We give thanks to God for the incarnate Word whose birth changes the world forever. The opening verses of John’s Gospel, proclaimed at Christmas Mass during the day, capture the proclamation of every Christmas: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace. … From his fullness we have all received.”
Here at St. John’s Seminary, we continue to hear the call to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. With you and for you we strive to be channels of the love and peace, forgiveness, and hope that God shares with us through his Son.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, we pray for you – that you may always know God’s peace and one day share in the fullness of Christ’s glory.
Fr. Stephen Salocks, Rector