Glad Tidings of Good Things-Fr. Louis Campbell
Our Lord once told the Apostle Thomas: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” The Apostle Philip then said to Our Lord: “‘Lord, show us the Father and it is enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long a time with you, and you have not known me? Philip, he who sees me sees also the Father’” (Jn.14:6-9).
He has been with us for two thousand years now – for so long a time. And how many of the people of this world know Jesus Christ, “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” (Jn.14:6)? The world is so lacking in faith and knowledge of the truth that one would think the Gospel had never been preached.
But perhaps it needs an introduction. And it is for this reason that the true Church preaches the Good News of Salvation throughout the year from the First Sunday of Advent to the Last Sunday after Pentecost. On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, just before the Feast of the Lord’s Nativity, St. John the Baptist “introduces” the Christ:
“Make ready the way of the Lord, make straight His paths. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked ways shall be made straight, and the rough ways smooth; and all mankind shall see the salvation of God” (Lk.3:4-6).
But John was not alone. A star came to rest over the place where the Holy Child was. He was visited by Wise Men from the East. Angels announced to the shepherds:
“Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good news of great joy which shall be to all the people” (Lk.2:10), and the angel choirs sang: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of good will” (Lk.2:14).
The Holy Mother of God herself, Mary Immaculate, would say to us: “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn.2:5). She would receive us as her children at the foot of the Cross as her dying Son said to her: “Woman, behold your son” (Jn.19:26).
The Apostles would go out to the whole world preaching the Gospel. The Holy Catholic Church with her thousands of saints and martyrs would give her testimony over the centuries to all nations, that He, Jesus Christ, is alive, and that He will come again to judge the living and the dead. And yet they do not know Him!
We come to Church on Sunday, and do we know Him? We come up to Holy Communion, and still, do we know Him?
Our Lord Himself prophesied a disastrous decline in faith at His coming again in glory: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find, do you think, faith on the earth?” (Lk.18:8).
And we seem to be living in the predicted times. The Son of Man, Jesus Christ, is hated. His Holy and Immaculate Mother, Mary, is hated. They are mocked and blasphemed in the media, and every king of abuse is piled upon them. Even the greeting, Merry Christmas, must now become Happy Holidays, if they have their way.
The Holy Catholic Church is also hated. Its teachings are mangled and perverted by a false clergy and a false hierarchy. The true Church is in eclipse. The Truth is no longer known on the earth. Let us listen once more to the testimony of John the Baptist:
“And I did not know Him. But He Who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He upon Whom you will see the Spirit descending, and abiding upon Him, He it is Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God” (Jn.1:33,34).
The whole point of preaching the Gospel is to introduce the world to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that the nations might believe in Him and be saved. St. Paul explains:
“How then are they to call upon him in whom they have not believed? But how are they to believe him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear, if no one preaches? And how are men to preach unless they be sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace; of those who bring glad tidings of good things!’” (Rom.10:14-15)
Today, once more, we bring “glad tidings of good things.” Are we ready to welcome Him when He comes at Christmas? Or are we so busy preparing for the celebration that we have forgotten what we are celebrating? Christmas without Christ is no Happy Holiday, but the beginning of an inglorious end? These are Our Lord’s powerful words to Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus, and her faith-filled reply:
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, even if he die, shall live; and whoever lives and believes in me, shall never die. Dost thou believe this? She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, who hast come into the world’” (Jn.11:25-27).
This is what He wants to hear from us, who find ourselves virtually alone among an unbelieving generation, those whose faith has been taken away by the enemies of our souls, the enemies of the Son of God Himself. We are all called to be witnesses. This Christmas, may we hear, in heart and spirit, the “glad tidings of good things.” And may we say, with St. Martha and all the saints:
“Yes, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, who hast come into the world” (Jn.11:27).