Christmas 2020: The Hope We Long For

Hodie Christus natus est
Christ is born today

The miracle of Christmas lies in this Latin word, “hodie” – TODAY!

The Divine Immediacy of it!
The Eternal Regeneration of it! 
The Omnipotent Presence of it!
Hodie – Today!  Now!

Christ is born in this moment, in this effort, this thought, this choice, this breath of my life.

As this Christmas morning dawns, indeed we commemorate an historical event that has redirected history toward Grace. But hidden in that sacred observance is the deep mystery of what we truly celebrate.

The birth of Christ, Eternal Love, is not contained by time. Every breaking moment bears Christ to the world. As history rolls on beneath this mystery, every generation – every human being – becomes the agent of His birth.


Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com

Christ was born in Bethlehem, and we rejoice.

But Christ is born in me – today, and today, and today. And we are awe-struck by Eternal Love.

I open my heart in humility, readiness and worship for Emmanuel’s Presence in my life.

This is the “Christus Moment”, where those passing vagaries of time which conspire to break our hearts, to break our lives, to break our world, are rendered soulless.

This is the moment when death is eviscerated, sin erased, division healed, brokenness  soothed, and hope blazingly restored. This is the “Hodie Moment” of Christ’s eternal birth in my heart, in our Church, in our world.


As we listen to the glorious chant of Christmas morning, “Christus Natus Est”, may we let our lives proclaim its transforming melody by:

  • every peaceful word we speak
  • every forgiving glance
  • every courageous stretch to hope
  • every grateful generosity

May Christ be born in us today

  • by our active love for Him in suffering humanity
  • by the vigor of our merciful justice
  • by our steady dismantling of selfishness to allow Him the fullness of glory

May Mary, who carried Jesus to life, teach us and guide us to be Bearers of Christ today – “hodie” – and every day.

Music: Hodie Christus Natus Est
Merry Christmas and God’s blessings to all of you and your loved ones!

Hodie Christus natus est 
hodie Salvator apparuit: 
hodie in terra canunt Angeli, 
laetantur Archangeli: 
hodie exsultant justi, dicentes: 
Gloria in excelsis Deo, alleluja.

Today is Christ born; 
today the Savior has appeared; 
today the Angels sing, 
the Archangels rejoice; 
today the righteous rejoice, saying: 
Glory to God in the highest.  Alleluia!

Psalm 34: The Reason

Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

December 15, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 34.

When I read its refrain, my mind was triggered into a kind of “Jeopardy-like” exchange with God:

Answer: This is the reason God sent his Son,
and continues to redeem the world in us.

Question : What is “The Lord hears the cry of the poor”.

Psalm 34 reiterates a fundamental fact so often overshadowed by our highly secularized “Christmas unconsciousness”. The psalm refocuses us by consistently using words like this:

  • Let my soul glory in the LORD;
    the lowly will hear me and be glad.
  • When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
    and from all his distress he saved him.
  • When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
    and from all their distress he rescues them.
  • The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
    and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.

Christmas is God’s response to the unrelenting cry of the poor. If we want to truly honor and celebrate Christmas, we must allow that merciful and healing response to flow through us.

How and where do I hear the cry of the poor?
How do I respond?

Poetry: Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit Alice Walker (born February 9, 1944) is an American novelist, story writer, poet and social activist. In 1982, she wrote the novel The Color Purple for which she won the National Book Award hardcover fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Did you ever understand this? 
If my spirit was poor, how could I enter heaven? 
Was I depressed? 
Understanding editing,
I see how a comma, removed or inserted
with careful plan,
can change everything.
I was reminded of this
when a poor young man
in Tunisia
desperate to live
and humiliated for trying
set himself ablaze; 
I felt uncomfortably warm
as if scalded by his shame.
I do not have to sell vegetables from a cart as he did
or live in narrow rooms too small for spacious thought; 
and, at this late date,
I do not worry that someone will
remove every single opportunity
for me to thrive.
Still, I am connected to, inseparable from,
this young man.
Blessed are the poor, in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus. (Commas restored) .
Jesus was as usual talking about solidarity: about how we join with others
and, in spirit, feel the world, and suffering, the same as them.
This is the kingdom of owning the other as self, the self as other; 
that transforms grief into
peace and delight.
I, and you, might enter the heaven
of right here
through this door.
In this spirit, knowing we are blessed,
we might remain poor 

Music: The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor – John Foley, SJ

Christmas 2019

Christmas Day 2019

Click here for readings at Dawn Mass

Today, in Mercy, may you, your families, communities and loved ones be blessed with every grace and happiness.  Merry Christmas, dear friends!

This is a reflection I wrote for the Catholic Health Association in 2015. I hope it blesses you on this holy day.


word made flesh

“Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.”
Luke 2:11

We knew only his name, not his story. Leon, just 37 years old, was one of those rootless souls who, by life’s violent incisions, become severed from their history and their future. He had come to us from a local boarding home, comatose and dying. He came with no friend or family to attend his imminent passage. So, through the night of Christmas Eve, Kathy, a young, off-duty nurse, sat silently with Leon, adamant that he should not die alone.

Leon had a quiet death. Very little changed in him except for stilled breathing and the relaxed mask that follows expiration. It was Kathy who changed. In that sterile hospital room, grey-lit with early morning, the palpable breath of God embraced her. She knew, and from that Christmas moment will always know, that all life beats within the Divine Heart; that we are sacred and immortal within its mysterious rhythm.

Over these celebratory days, we will orchestrate a series of Christmas moments in our decorations, carols, gifts and feasts. We will visit our treasured memories and revered mangers. We will be blessed by the love of family and friends who are the face of Christ to us.

May we also receive this singular grace: to know that any true Christmas moment comes only when the Spirit of Christ passes through us into the heart of another person. To receive this grace, we may, like Kathy, need to sit in a silent room with a dying stranger. We may need to welcome that ostracized family member who has carelessly injured us. We may need to rediscover, in our own quiet contrition, the radiant Gospel commitment that has paled in us.

Meister Eckhart, seven centuries ago, sought such a Christmas moment:

Today we celebrate the Eternal Birth
which God the Father has borne
and never ceases to bear in all eternity.
But if it takes not place in me, what avails it?
Everything lies in this, that it should take place in me.

Music: Two Hour Playlist for Christmas – Tim Janis

Today ~ “Hodie”

Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Christmas Day

hodie 12_25

Click here for Readings from three Masses

Hodie Christus natus est
Christ is born today

The miracle of Christmas lies in this Latin word, “hodie”. 

The Divine Immediacy of it!
The Eternal Regeneration of it!
The Omnipotent Presence of it!
Hodie – Today!  Now!

Christ is born in this moment, in this effort, this thought, this choice, this breath of my life.

As this Christmas morning dawns, indeed we commemorate an historical event that has redirected history toward Grace. But hidden in that sacred observance is the deep mystery of what we truly celebrate.

The birth of Christ, Eternal Love, is not contained by time. Every breaking moment bears Christ to the world. As history rolls on beneath this mystery, every generation – every human being – becomes the agent of His birth.

Christ was born in Bethlehem, and we rejoice.

But Christ is born in me – today, and today, and today. And we are awe-struck by Eternal Love.

I open my heart in humility, readiness and worship for Emmanuel’s Presence in my life.

This is the “Christus Moment”, where those passing vagaries of time which conspire to break our hearts, to break our lives, to break our world, are rendered soulless.

This is the moment when death is eviscerated, sin erased, division healed, brokenness  soothed, and hope blazingly restored. This is the “Hodie Moment” of Christ’s eternal birth in my heart, in our Church, in our world.

As we listen to the glorious chant of Christmas morning, “Christus Natus Est”, may we let our lives proclaim its transforming melody by:

  • every peaceful word we speak
  • every forgiving glance
  • every courageous stretch to hope
  • every grateful generosity

May Christ be born in us today

  • by our active love for Him in suffering humanity
  • by the vigor of our merciful justice
  • by our steady dismantling of selfishness to allow Him the fullness of glory

May Mary, who carried Jesus to life, teach us and guide us to be Bearers of Christ today – “hodie” – and every day.

Music: Hodie Christus Natus Est

Merry Christmas and God’s blessings to all of you and your loved ones!

Today is Christ born; today the Savior has appeared;
today the Angels sing, the Archangels rejoice;
today the righteous rejoice, saying: Glory to God in the highest. Alleluia!

Hodie Christus natus est hodie Salvator apparuit:
hodie in terra canunt Angeli, laetantur Archangeli:
hodie exsultant justi, dicentes: Gloria in excelsis Deo, Alleluia.