By Sean Martin
John Paul II Generation
A couple of months ago, my family and I were driving to Mass, and as we passed by one of the many gas stations on the way into town, my oldest son asked my wife and I what determines the price of gas.
We were surprised by his curiosity and excited to share our knowledge with our son on worldly affairs and what dictates the price of a gallon of gas. My wife and I took the opportunity to analyze it from every different angle, so that our son would understand the answer to such a complex question.
After about a 10 to 15-minute answer and exploring every possible reason why gas prices are the way they are, we asked, “Does that make sense? Does that answer your question?” to which our son responded, “Yeah, but I wasn’t expecting all that; just a one-sentence answer!”
We learned the lesson that sometimes we can make things sound overcomplicated, rather than proclaiming the message simply and precisely.
As we move toward the conclusion of the Christmas season with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord and the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, let us consider and proclaim the basic Gospel message, the good news.
“And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. …And the angel said to them, ‘Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” (LK 2:7, 10-11).
The Christmas message is simply good news and great joy. This good news is that our almighty God loves us so much that he did not abandon us to the powers of sin and death. The Lord took on human flesh and blood for the sake of our salvation. He stooped down to our level to raise us up to his.
“And the word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14). Almighty God really and truly dwells among us. He became one of us in all things but sin (Hebrews 4:15). Christ really was a baby, and Mary and Joseph really had to care for their infant, Jesus, just as every other human parent cares for their child.
As our Holy Father, Pope Francis warns us “the great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. ….God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt” (The Joy of the Gospel 2).
Just as an infant brings joy to the family, the baby Jesus should bring our human family great joy. We must not live in sadness or be sucked into the temptations of the world. Our Christian faith must proclaim the simple message of joy, which only comes from a relationship with Christ. We must gaze upon Jesus Christ, the babe in the manger, and listen to him.
“You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.” (Psalm 16:11). We ought to be filled with the joy of Christ as we continue to celebrate this Christmas mystery of good news.
Sean Martin is director of new evangelization, catechesis and family life for the Diocese of Sioux City.