Rejoice in the Lord always!
The prophet Zephaniah urges the people to shout for joy (Zephaniah 3:14-18). Why? Because God is in their midst; and therefore, they no longer have to fear their enemies. Similarly, Isaiah tells the people to “Shout with exultation, City of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!.” (Isaiah 12:6) Both Zephaniah and Isaiah proclaim that their reason for joy is their experience of God’s presence in their midst. St. Paul tells us to “rejoice in the Lord always!” (Philippians 4:4) because in Jesus Christ, we will find peace which surpasses human understanding in our hearts and minds.
There are indeed many reasons to be joyful. Since Christmas is just around the corner, let us reflect on two very specific kinds of joy: the joy of giving and the joy of receiving. One of the joys that many of us experience during the Christmas season comes from giving presents. We feel happy when we give someone a gift, but we feel even happier when we give someone special something extra special. The same is true when we do good deeds. Somehow, the intensity of our happiness is greater when we do something good for people that we love. That is because deep and lasting joy comes only from love. A person who does good deeds because he feels obliged to do so may find happiness in the sense that he feels justified in having done his Christian duty. But a person who does good deeds out of love finds a more heightened joy because in loving, he has experienced the heights of human existence.
Another kind of joy that many of us experience during the Christmas season comes from receiving presents. Here, we have to consider a few questions: Do I feel happier when the gift which I receive is of greater value? Or do I feel happier when the gift is given by someone I love? And inasmuch as we appreciate a happy and thankful receiver of our gifts, do we always show our happiness and gratitude to those who give us gifts? No matter how small or casual a gift is, the giver deserves our gratitude and appreciation. In truth, we cannot express our love for others more than just being happy and appreciative of the gifts that they have given us.
Fr. Bai will give a talk starting at 1:00 pm. After his talk, he will hear confessions. Please join us for dinner with Fr. Bai at 6:00 pm tonight.
The time for the Mass during the Night for Christmas has been changed to 11:30 pm on December 24, 2018. The Mass during the Night will be celebrated in Chinese.
The Mass during the Day for Christmas will be celebrated at 3:30 pm on December 25, 2018. The Mass during the Day will be celebrated in Chinese. After Mass, there will be a community potluck, St. Nicholas for the children and a children’s program. Come and join us in this celebration!
January 3, 2019 is the Feast Day of the Holy Name of Jesus. As the patronal name of our church, we will celebrate this feast day on January 20, 2019 in lieu of the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time. Every family in our church is encouraged to pray the Novena to the Holy Name of Jesus starting from December 26, 2018 up to January 3, 2019 for the intention of the growth of our church with faithful parishioners. The Novena prayer can be found in this link: https://hnojatl.org/en/faith/prayers/
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