Written by Sr. Rosemary Finnegan, O.P.
Readings from: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/122920.cfm
I have always loved celebrating Mass in this Church and one of the features I particularly love about this sacred space are our unique and beautiful stained glass windows. There are 24 identical, very tall windows made of Italian glass that surround the circumference of this church building. There are also an additional 7 unique windows on either side of the sanctuary…6 on the walls and one in the Chapel of Reservation. Each of these windows contain a symbol of one of the 7 sacraments artistically designed within it. And our very creative environment team have even recreated two replica windows which hang in our sanctuary during Christmas to enhance our celebrations this special season.
During the day, as we witness now, the outside light shines on the beautiful small pieces of colored glass which form the pattern in the window. Depending on the hour of the day, these windows may shine brilliantly, may be subtle, or may be muted. Until the darkness falls, however, no matter the hour, they are always rich in beauty.
In our readings today, we hear about light. The letter from 1 John says: “for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.” And in our gospel, Simeon, upon seeing the baby presented in the temple by his parents, prays to the Lord that he has finally seen “a light to reveal you to the nations.” Both references to light, of course, are reference to Christ the Light who comes to dispel the darkness of our lives and our world. At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ the Light and we pray that our hearts and our minds may be bathed in this light and shine through in our deeds. (from the Collect, Mass at Dawn).
And just as each stained glass window here is held together by strips of lead, supported by a rigid frame, and must fit snugly into the space for which it was made in order to resist any wind and rain, so, too, are we bound together in Christ the Light. We are called to be disciples in this time and place to help dispel the darkness that lurks because of a lack of faith, hope and love around us. Like the beautiful pieces of individual colored glass assembled in our windows, we are brought together in community as the Body of Christ to radiate the light of Christ by our words and deeds.
Just as the beautiful stain glass windows in the medieval cathedrals of the world have withstood the test of time, may our commitment to Christ endure as well. Pope Francis said it well in his Christmas message: “You are also a Christmas light when you illuminate with your life the path of others with kindness, patience, joy and generosity.”