Deacon's Corner 1/8/2023
Did you know that the Christmas Season is not over? Our liturgical Christmas Season begins on Christmas Day, and ends about 3 weeks after Christmas with the Baptism of Jesus.
Christmas Day is the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. Depending which Mass you attend, there are four different Gospels. Each Gospel speaks about the birth of our Savior. As we did at the Christmas Masses, we genuflect or kneel during the Creed at the words “and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man” to help us focus on what Christmas is all about.
December 26th is the Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr and one of the first deacons. On this first day after Christmas, St. Stephen reminds us what it means to live as a witness of Christ without counting the cost.
December 27th is the Feast of the Apostle and Evangelist St. John, who is considered the disciple closest to Jesus. St. John wrote a Gospel, the Book of Revelation and three New Testament letters. He teaches us that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8).
December 28th is the Feast of the Holy Innocents to honor all the boys in Bethlehem under 2 years old that Herod ordered killed to eliminate threats to his power, after he learned about a newborn king from the Magi. We know he failed. An angel told Joseph to flee with Mary and Jesus in the middle of the night to Egypt. (Mt 2:13-18).
The Feast of the Holy Family celebrates a role model for families to love and respect each other. Bishop Boyea wrote a great reflection on this in his December 30 th email to everyone. If you don’t have it, let me know and I’ll send it to you. The feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on the Sunday after Christmas, except for the years when Christmas falls on a Sunday. Then it is celebrated on Dec. 30.
Jan. 1st is a Holy Day for the Solemnity of Mary. Being 8 days since his birth, and a male in a Jewish family, Jesus would have been circumcised in accordance with the covenant God made with Abraham. (Lk 2:21).
The Solemnity of the Epiphany is Jan. 6, the Twelfth Day of Christmas. It reminds us how Christ came to save all mankind, not just the Jews. This feast celebrates Christ’s identity revealed through the Magi and the gifts they presented him - gold and frankincense as the king of the universe, myrrh to foretell the bitter reality that the babe in the manger was born to die. This feast is transferred to the Sunday between January 2nd and 8th in the United States.
The Christmas season ends with the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism, which falls on January 9th this year. It honors the day Christ formally accepts his earthly mission through his baptism by St. John the Baptist. He sets out from the waters of the Jordan River, identified as God’s own son by the Father’s voice that boomed from the sky, to begin his saving work as the long-awaited Messiah who will free us of our sins.
As our Christmas Season comes to a close tomorrow, may we continue to remind ourselves who Jesus is, and what God has done for us. Have a Blessed New Year!
Adapted from SimplyCatholic.com