Fr. John’s Christmas Message

posted Dec 21, 2017, 2:09 PM by Mary Tocimak

On Behalf of the entire parish staff here at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, I want to wish all of you a most Holy and Blessed Christmas.

I am sure almost all of you have heard the phrase that it is better to give than to receive.  I preach about this topic all the time and you have been most generous in responding to the needs of others.  As a result of your generosity, our parish has been blessed by a tremendous growth in spirituality, joy and love.  When I visit other parishes, I can see that these people do not share in the same level of peace and tranquility that we have here at Ss. Peter and Paul. 

So the question I have for all of us to ponder this Christmas season is the following:  Is there a time in our lives when it is better to receive than to give?  Sure, if you are in need a blood transfusion, or an organ donation, it is only logical that you would accept these gifts.  However, this time of year, we are so focused on buying the perfect gift for others, do we prepare ourselves to receive gifts from others?  I know that when I receive cards and gifts, it is a very humbling experience.  Yet, are we prepared to receive the greatest gift ever on Christmas, the baby Jesus into our hearts. 

When we are baptized, our souls are made clean and free so that we can accept the gift of Christ into our heart and soul.  Unfortunately, as we grow older, our hearts get filled with other things that tend to squeeze Jesus out.  For example, we focus on accumulating possessions, power, prestige, and many other things.  We also store up emotions such as anger, guilt, jealousy, pride, and others that replace Jesus in our hearts.  Yet, when we give to others, these self-centered traits are cleared out to make room for Jesus to re-enter our hearts.  Even-though we make room for Him, do we truly receive Him fully, or is it just for a short visit?  As much as we may feel we are not deserving of this great gift, Jesus wants to take up residence in our hearts forever.  To do so, we must fully accept Him and His love, His mercy and His grace. 

So how do we keep Him in our hearts permanently?  By living a life full of gratitude for the things God has blessed us with.  By letting Jesus be our guide in our decision making; what would Jesus do in this situation?  By living a life of love of God and others like He did.  To make this commitment, we need to make Him a bigger part of our lives.  That is where prayer and the sacraments help to nourish and strengthen us.  It is not easy to live like this on a consistent basis. That is why Jesus gave us himself and the Holy Spirit to help and guide us.  My Christmas wish for all of you is for you to receive the greatest gift this Christmas, the baby Jesus into your hearts forever!!

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