John 1:6-8,19-28Every time Christmas comes, a parish calls its members to include the poor in their Christmas list. This gives a powerful message that Christmas is not just about merry-making, eating good food, and exchanging gifts. The only gift worth exchanging is us when we become God's gifts to others, especially the poor, the least, last, and lost.
The words of Isaiah regarding the one anointed by the Lord to bring glad tidings to the poor are the exact words Jesus read when he began his public ministry. Coming from mouth of Jesus, the world is transformed to one where the poor are not ostracized; rather, they become recipients of God's overly abundant graces.
What does it mean to be God's living gifts of Good News to the poor?First, the Word. The Word itself is Good News! We need to be immersed more in God's word as it serves as light to our lives, molding our decisions and moving us into action. Allot significant time to be immersed in God's word to transform our lives for good.
Second, the Light. John the Baptist is not the light. But he speaks for the light. He gives witness to the light. When we are absorbed in the Word, it lights our lives. We see the world in a different light, God's light. Even the poor is seen in a different light. When we diagnose the cause of poverty in greed and selfish, otherwise known as the darkness of life, we do well to start giving of ourselves to help them.
Third, Jesus. He is the one whom John the Baptist is referring to; the one whose sandal-strap he is not worthy to undo. This is the very message of Christmas; Jesus is the One we are waiting for all this time. If we only know the real meaning of the Church as the Body of Christ, then we would know how to be the living gifts or Good News to the poor. Knowing that God is with us, "Emmanuel", his saving actions would now be possible through us men and women of the time.