Monday, December 23, 2013

Good News of Great Joy

Luke's very familiar story of the birth of Jesus (2:1-14) is designed to highlight the message of the angel to the shepherds.  He is more concerned with understanding the meaning than with the birth itself.
Out of the glorious light that surrounded the shepherds the angel speaks: I bring you good news of great joy for all the people.  Today in Bethlehem a Savior has been born for you who is Messiah God.  It's the only time in the New Testament that the titles Christos Kurios are used without an article or connecting word between them.  "Kurios" is the Greek for "Lord," the name that Jews often used to avoid speaking the proper name of God.  Luke wants to make it clear that the long awaited Messiah is also God.  The Jews would never have expected this Messiah to be God.  This is astonishing news.
"Good News " is what the angel calls it.  "Great joy" is what this Gospel brings us.  Our Holy Father Francis points out that our job as Church is to continue the work of this angel: spreading the Good News with a smile on our face.  "The Joy of the Gospel."
(The angel in the picture is on the front of the Church of the Shepherds on a Bethlehem hill.)

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