< <  

Thursday, January 5, 2006

  > >

St. John Neumann

1 John 3:11-21
Psalm 100
John 1:43-51

View Readings
Similar Reflections

christmas, rejection, and love

"That we have passed from death to life we know because we love the brothers. The man who does not love is among the living dead." —1 John 3:14

The Christmas scene is a picture of utter rejection. Why is this Baby being born in a stable? Doesn't anyone care? Even if there's no room in the inn, there must be room in someone's heart. Mary was obviously pregnant and going into labor. Didn't anyone care?

From the very beginning, the Christ Child is a sign of contradiction (Lk 2:34). "To His own He came, yet His own did not accept Him" (Jn 1:11). The Christmas scene is also a picture of divine love, even for enemies. God knew beforehand He would be rejected from Bethlehem all the way to Calvary. Yet He became man out of love for those who would refuse to love Him. He became man not only for Mary and Joseph but for Herod and the innkeeper.

Christmas celebrates love, not just for the lovable and loving, but for enemies who have rejected and even hated us. Christmas is the foreshadowing of Calvary. "There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends" (Jn 15:13). "The way we came to understand love was that He laid down His life for us. We too must lay down our lives" (1 Jn 3:16). Love your enemies, even your executioners. Love impossibly, divinely, unconditionally.

Prayer:  Jesus, love in me. Give me supernatural love in place of natural hate. Do the miracle of Christmas love in me.

Promise:  "You shall see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man." —Jn 1:51

Praise:  St. John Neumann wrote: "I have labored with all my powers to fulfill the duties of my office, and with God's help, as I hope, not without fruit."

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 19, 2005

The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.