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12/25/15 Nativity of the Lord - Fr. Reggie

The angels announced to the shepherds that a Savior was born for them.

They called this "news of great joy," since this Savior was going to bring "peace to those on whom his favor rests."

The peace that Christ brings is the source of that joy.

The two always go together. Joy is the emotion we feel when we come into the possession of good things. But unless we have peace, we cannot really have possession of anything. Without peace there is conflict, and conflict means that someone is trying to take away the good things we possess. That aggression causes turbulence, instability - the opposite of peace.

Without peace, there is no joy.

Christ was born to give us true, lasting joy, because he came to establish true, lasting peace.

Christ is a King, all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good. 

When someone becomes his subject, they no longer need to fear anything, because God is now their protector.

But Christ's Kingdom is not a material Kingdom. It is a spiritual Kingdom. He was born in a stable, not a palace. The peace Christ brings is the interior, spiritual peace that comes from a conscience cleansed by his forgiveness and a heart which knows that our heavenly Father loves us. No one can take away a clean conscience or the knowledge that we are loved by God. That's why Christ's peace is lasting - it is unassailable.

This interior peace can also overflow into political peace when enough people in a community are filled with it.

But, from Christ's perspective, that's secondary.

The earthly kingdoms and conflicts of this world will all pass away. But Christ's Kingdom, the community of his followers, the Church, will last forever.

And so the angels don't hesitate to announce their "good news of great joy," because they know that Jesus Christ truly does bring lasting peace to everyone who lets him be their King.

Think of the difference between a present and a friend.


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