- Be kind, O Lord GOD! Who will raise up Jacob? He is so small! (Amos 7:2)
St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio – one of the great leaders of the early Franciscan Order – once chose to hold an Easter sermon on this text from the prophet Amos. He loved this passage because, he said, it was about Christmas and Easter at the same time. “This text explains why we celebrate Easter and why we celebrate Christmas.” (Sermo in resurrectione Domini II)
The connection between Christmas and Easter is also made clear by the feasts the Church celebrates during the 12 days of Christmas. Yesterday we celebrated the first Christian martyr, St. Stephen, which reminds us of the price we pay for celebrating Christmas at all. Tomorrow we commemorate the Holy Innocents – in which already the Gospels make clear that the story of Jesus’ birth is to be understood as a prologue to the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Today is the feast of St. John the Evangelist, the apostle who called himself “The Apostle who arrived at the tomb first” (John 20:8). This was St. John’s nickname for himself, and it defined the way he proclaimed the Good News. How wonderful that on the third day of Christmas, the reading is about the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb! An Easter gospel for Christmas. This is the ancient tradition of the Church.
The wonderful Puerto Rican theologian, Msgr. Luigi Albacete, wrote in his column yesterday:
The joy of Christmas is the beginning of the wait for Easter.
This is why the angel Gabriel said “Rejoice!”
Without Christmas, no Easter.
Without Easter, no Christmas.
(Il Sussidario, Senza Natale, non c’é Pasqua, December 26, 2013)
Feast of St. John, December 27, 2013
- Here is an introduction to the works of St. Bonaventure
- Fr. Albacete’s most popular book is called “God at the Ritz: Attraction to Infinity, A Priest-Physicist Talks About Science, Sex, Politics, and Religion”, Crossroad Publishing 2002