By Fr. Emeterio Barcelon, SJ
Christmas time brings a lot of us to adore the Child Jesus whom we neglect the rest of the year. We love the Child and ask Him for his blessing and love. We go to Mass on Christmas Eve and rejoice at His coming as a Baby in a manger. But when He comes again in glory, will we be able to sing with the choirs of angels? He has been asking us for one hour a week to adore Him at Sunday Mass and yet more than half of the people here in Cagayan de Oro do not go to Mass on Sundays. Yes, they come on Christmas but Jesus wants us to adore Him once a week at Sunday Mass and receive Him in communion.
When He lived two thousand years ago in Judea He wanted to be present to us for all the future years so that in His sacrifice, he will be present through the ages. This is our faith that He is truly present in the bread turned into His flesh and the wine into His blood. It is a special miracle but He gave it to us so that we will have the strength to fight the battles of daily life. There is only one positive obligation all our life and that is to receive Him in communion once a week to help us live as His children.
Many followers of Christ Jesus could not accept that He would give them His Flesh to eat and His Blood to drink and so went away and did not follow Him anymore. But Peter and the others accepted just as we do that Jesus is present at Mass for all the years to come. We know that there is a spiritual combat everyday of our lives. There is the devil who entices us to reject Him through money, sex, and power. We know how these things are always present. They entice us to go away from the Lord. That is why the three vows of the religious who want to follow Christ more closely are poverty, chastity, and obedience. These are the virtues to fight the devil and his cohorts.
Jesus was born in a manger, where cows and sheep eat. There was no room for Him in the inn, the hotels of that time. He was born in pure poverty. Later on in life when He was making miracles, the Jews wanted to make Him king with power, but He told them that His kingdom was not of this earth so that they crucified Him. His kingdom was not of power on this earth. The big temptations of this world are money, sex, and power. They are good but they can be snares for us to leave God and go away from Him. He made sure that we will have the strength to resist these urges by giving us His Body and Blood in the Mass. Without this strength it is difficult for us to resist the enticement of the devil. We need to receive Him in Communion to strengthen us and rejoice in preparation for His second coming in glory.
We must not be just Christmas Catholics. Jesus asks us to receive Him at least once a week to strengthen us in our daily lives. We ask Him to give us this super-substantial bread daily in the Our Father. Without this Bread we are easy targets of the devil with his enticements to money, sex, and power. In our devotion to the Child Jesus, let us ask Him to help us to be faithful to our faith. We ask Our Lady and St. Joseph to keep us in love with the Child Jesus of Christmas time. We rejoice at the coming of Jesus at Christmas and every day of our lives. We need to go to communion every Sunday.