ARCHBISHOP GOMEZ CELEBRATES CHRISTMAS EVE MASS AT THE CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS
–The Archbishop calls on the community of faith to open their hearts and homes to the love and hope of Jesus during the homily of the first Mass he has celebrated inside the Cathedral with faithful present since July–
Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrated Christmas Vigil Mass this evening at theCathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. This marks the Archbishop’s celebration of the first indoor Mass with faithful present since July, when the Archdiocese began celebrating outdoor Masses, following protocols set by state and local public health amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mass was livestreamed onfaceboook.com/lacatholics/.
“To us a Child is born! Even in this pandemic, the Son of God comes, breaking into our reality, like a great light shining in the darkness of our fear and sadness. He comes to bring us joy, to set us free from our burdens and our worries,” said Archbishop Gomez in his homily. Full text of the homily as prepared is below. “This Child comes this evening to show us that we are living our whole life surrounded by the light of God’s love, by the beautiful reality of his loving presence in our lives and in our world.”
Archbishop Gomez will also celebrate aMass in Spanish on Christmas Day, Dec. 25 at 10:30 a.m. The Mass will be livestreamed via faceboook.com/lacatholics/. Attendance will be limited to 130 faithful on a first come first served basis.
“As we see Mary and Joseph and the shepherds in the Gospel, God is also calling each of us this evening — in a new way — to bring Jesus Christ into our world,” continued Archbishop in his Christmas Eve homily. “By the way we live, by how we think and how we treat other people, God is calling us to tell our neighbors and loved ones about the reality of his love. About the reality that we have a Savior, this Child who is born for us.”
Faithful viewing Mass via livestream participated virtually in the Cathedral’s Candle Program to offer a prayer intentions and light candles from home (http://www.olacathedral.org/candles/).
Homily — Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)[i]
Most Reverend José H. Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
December 24, 2020
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ!
For centuries the Church has listened to these words from sacred Scripture that we have just listened to.
The Word of God remains the same. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. But the conditions in the world change, situations change in our lives.
This year, we hear these words of Scripture in a time when the whole world has been stricken by a deadly virus.
We hear these words as a people who have been living for months with our society disrupted, our worship and way of life limited by concerns to stop the spread of infections for the protection of our brothers and sisters.
This evening, the prophet Isaiah proclaims to us:
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone. …
For a Child is born to us, a Son is given us. …
This is an ancient prophecy of Christmas, as we know. Hundreds of years before Jesus Christ was born, God was preparing his people’s hearts, teaching them to hope in his promises.
This evening, we hear the prophet’s words and they’re personal. They’re like a letter written for us. You and I are the people walking in darkness, burdened by powers and forces we can’t control, our land overshadowed by gloom and uncertainty.
To us a Child is born! Even in this pandemic, the Son of God comes, breaking into our reality, like a great light shining in the darkness of our fear and sadness.
He comes to bring us joy, to set us free from our burdens and our worries.
This Child comes this evening to show us that we are living our whole life surrounded by the light of God’s love, by the beautiful reality of his loving presence in our lives and in our world.
In the same way, the words we heard in this evening’s Gospel were written 2,000 years ago. We’ve heard them many times before, but this evening they are spoken at the end of a troubled 2020.
What the angels in heaven proclaimed to the shepherds on that first Christmas night, now they sing to us: “A Savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord!”
“For you” this Savior has been born. This Child lying in his crib is God’s greatest Gift. He is born for you. And he is born for me.
My brothers and sisters, each one of us must hear those two little words — in all their power. These words should fill us with great hope.
St. Paul tells us in the second reading: “We await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us.”
This is the beautiful hope of Christmas. This year and every year.
This Child in the crib will die on a Cross for us, to deliver us. This great Gift that is given to us, he will give his own life for us. That’s how much God loves you, my brothers and sisters.
Christmas tells us that no matter what’s going on in the world, no matter we’re going through in our lives, God goes with us.
This is true, brothers and sisters. God will never leave you! You can always draw near to him, always find his mercy and help in your time of need. We have so many reasons for hope!
This evening, we sang the ancient words of the Psalm:
“Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.”
Again, these words speak to us today in a special way. They tell us how we should respond to the troubles and challenges of 2020.
As we see Mary and Joseph and the shepherds in the Gospel, God is also calling each of us this evening — in a new way — to bring Jesus Christ into our world.
By the way we live, by how we think and how we treat other people, God is calling us to tell our neighbors and loved ones about the reality of his love. About the reality that we have a Savior, this Child who is born for us.
So, my brothers and sisters, this Christmas night let us open our hearts to this Child! Let him into your life, let him into heart! And let us bring his love into our homes and into our world!
I wish you and your families a blessed and holy Christmas, filled with joy and hope.
Let us ask the intercession of Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our Blessed mother and St. Joseph, may they help us to make the birth of their Son Jesus a new beginning — for each one of us and for the whole world.
[i] Readings (Mass During the Night): Isa. 9:1–6; Ps. 96:1–3, 11–13; Tit. 2:11–14; Luke 2:1–14.