Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The rarely celebrated mass

Here in Richmond dawn was just a few minutes ago. At 6:55 am the first light appeared in the sky. The sun will not rise for another 10 minutes, but the light has come.

Of the four masses traditionally celebrated at Christmas, the Mass at Dawn is probably the least common, but in many ways the one that best symbolizes the true meaning of the day.

It is not celebrated in darkness or in the full sun. After all, the fullness of the light of Christ we will not see until his second coming. But we are not left in the dark either. It is right in the middle.

Is there still darkness? Yes. For many, this Christmas is a difficult time, especially for those whose loved ones have recently passed from this life, or those who have fallen on hard times. But the dawn reminds us that the light is not only coming at some distance time in the future, but is already here.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.

That is the faith we proclaim every time we celebrate mass.

The magnificence of those first streaks of light. And for those of us who live on an east coast, is there anything more beautiful than watching the sun come up over the water.

Today the greatest light in the history of the universe has dawned, God born as one like us. May that light of Christ be reborn in each of us this day, and may it shine more brightly every day, until he comes in glory.