In the Gospel of Matthew 1:18-24, Joseph thought of abandoning Mary after finding out that she was with child. Since he and Mary have not yet lived together, Joseph was sure that the child wasn’t his. Such was his plan, when and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)
Consider this story: Joe was raised Catholic since he was a child. After 30 years of being Catholic, he thought of leaving the Church because he decided that it was full of lukewarm people who did not know or care about Jesus. He stayed in church after Mass one day and as he knelt before the Tabernacle, he told Jesus about his plan to leave the Church. Then he felt Jesus say to him: “So you think you are better than everyone else and you deserve a better church. Well, you go. But I have to stay here in the tabernacle. I’m bound to the Church by my promise.”
What makes a person leave the Church? There are many reasons and each person has their own story. A well-known talk show host announced recently that he has left the Catholic Church. His reason was because of “institutionalized corruption” which has not been rectified. But perhaps it is reasonable to say that if a person really has faith, then that person wouldn’t ever leave the Church. Take for example, the Eucharist. A person who truly believes that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ would look forward to coming to Mass each day to receive Holy Communion. Regardless of what the other churchgoers think or do, and despite whatever man-made scandal is going on, that person would never leave the Church.
The task of evangelization, therefore, is not only about teaching the faith. It also has to be about helping people grow in their faith. How is that done? One way is to provide opportunities for people to connect with God. A Catholic church is God’s house because it already has the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament; and God’s house shall be a house of prayer (cf. Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 21:13). Although fellowship activities and social events in a church have their benefits, the primary function of a Catholic church is that it has to be a house of prayer. How can we help people feel at home and connect with God in God’s house?
The Midnight Mass was the first Christmas Mass celebrated at the Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission when it opened three years ago. The tradition of the Midnight Mass continues to be celebrated each year on December 24th. This particular Mass during the Night brings out a sense of tranquility and solemnity far apart from the busy hustle and bustle of buying Christmas gifts and planning parties. The sound of Christmas hymns, the smell of incense, the procession and the devotion of the people to the infant Jesus makes this celebration so special. The Midnight Mass liturgy doesn’t just tell the story of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; it becomes a moving experience which draws out a faith-filled response from the faithful to the Gospel’s proclamation of salvation and the true identity of the Christ child born in the manger. The Holy Name of Jesus Chinese Catholic Mission celebrates the Midnight Mass on December 24th at 11:30 pm. All are welcome to attend!
On December 25th, the Christmas Mass of the Day will be celebrated at 3:30 pm. After Mass, come and join us for an evening of great food, songs, dance, music, Santa Claus, gifts and fun for the whole family!
The gift shop is having its annual Christmas sale. Drop by the gift shop and save from 5% to 25%. All items are discounted. Christmas cards are now available!
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