We hear in Luke’s gospel that the shepherds went in “haste” to go “to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us” through the angels on the night of our Lord’s birth. At this time of year,….. we easily understand the celebration of Jesus coming into our lives at Christmas especially after the longing that we recently experienced during the Advent season. Just like the shepherds, we are filled with joy and awe of the mercy God has shown us in Jesus.
In Edward Sri’s book “A Biblical Walk through The Mass” he points out that we celebrate this at every Mass. The opening line of Gloria that we sing (except during Advent and Lent,) is taken from the words the angels sang to the shepherds: “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace to people of good will.” Here we repeat the praise of the angels as we prepare ourselves to welcome Jesus again in the Eucharist.
Sri writes that Pius Parsch, a twentieth century theologian, called the Gloria “the joyful response to the pleading of the Kyrie.” We prayerfully yearn for mercy in the Kyrie and joyful sing out confidently of God’s mercy to us in the Gloria. In this way, we celebrate “in every Mass both Advent and Christmas.”
Sri writes that St. Albert the Great made a similar point. After our repeated petition of “Lord, have mercy,” we sing out Glory to God. “It is as if [God] were saying, “I will certainly answer your cries and I will send to you in the Sacrament the one whom I sent into the world to your fathers, that you may partake of him, and be drawn out from your evils and be filled with every good.”
The Jubilee Year of Mercy may be over, but “the true door of mercy which is the heart of Christ always remains open wide for us.” (Pope Francis Homily, 11/20/2016) We can then continue to show mercy and share the joy of Advent and Christmas with others in every season.
Moments of Mercy articles will continue in the bulletin as a reminder of God’s eternal mercy at work in our lives. Please consider sharing experiences of mercy from your life. Our editors will work with you to incorporate it into an article.