My brothers and my sisters,
Merry Christmas and a blessed 2016 to you and your families!
On Christmas, we will hear these words proclaimed: “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled” (Luke 2:1). With that verse begins one of the most beautiful stories of all time, the story of the birth of Jesus, a story that remains ever fresh, never growing old. It is the story of God’s greatest act of freedom. He chose to be born into the world to reveal His depth of love for us and to bring salvation into the world. God bathes us with His light that overcomes any and all darkness. In our daily lives, we experience both lights and shadows. Christmas is a time when we look forward to the day when His promise will be fulfilled. It will be the time when shattered dreams and unfulfilled expectations will be erased; when peace, joy, oneness and love will replace war, hatred, racism and despair. Christmas is about what needs to be done to birth Christ again.
In that same Gospel story, there is one verse that is often overlooked. Once the shepherds have come and gone from the birthplace of Jesus, Mary and Joseph are alone once again with their child and “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Before Jesus’ journey on earth begins, His first disciple, His own mother, had to contemplate just what to do. It might do us well to contemplate in silence what deserves our attention and action. It must begin in prayer.
Through our prayer we reach out to others in imitation of Jesus. Our Savior gave Himself to us and He asks that we give ourselves to Him by sharing who we are with others. That’s what His mother did. We participated in the “Giving Tree” providing support for over 500 families—our brothers and sisters, who need assistance. There was a range of clothing drives to provide warmth in the midst of cold, food drives to provide nourishment to the hungry, presents to the families of those who are detained at Santa Rita County Jail. This is a small measure of the work we do. We need to ask how this will gain momentum in 2016 which Pope Francis has declared to be a Year of Mercy.
Active participation in the Catholic Community of Pleasanton is the way. Involve yourselves in liturgy, learning and living the Christian Faith. This Christmas and throughout 2016, let us invest ourselves in the pathway our Savior took. He went about doing good on earth because He was in deep union with God the Father. We want to know Christ better; live as He calls us to live and make Him better known.
On behalf of the members of the parish pastoral staff as well as the Parish Pastoral and Finance Councils, I wish you the peace of Christ and the serenity that comes from faith in the one who was born of Mary.
In His light,