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Wednesday, December 24, 1997

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2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-11, 16
Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29
Luke 1:67-79

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"free at last"

"You shall go before the Lord to prepare straight paths for Him, giving His people a knowledge of salvation in freedom from their sins." —Luke 1:76-77

On this Christmas Eve day and last day of Advent, we sing, for the last time until next Advent, "O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel." We are mourning in lonely exile. We cry out and sing out for God to visit and ransom His people this Christmas season (Lk 1:68). We must be "rid of fear and delivered from the enemy" (Lk 1:74). We need Emmanuel, the Messiah, Jesus.

Only Jesus, the Truth, can set us free (see Jn 8:36; Jn 14:6; Jn 8:32). He began His public ministry by proclaiming: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; therefore He has anointed Me. He has sent Me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Lord" (Lk 4:18-19). Jesus announced a perpetual Jubilee Year of liberation (see Lv 25:8ff).

Let us prepare to celebrate the year 2000, the Great Jubilee, the Jubilee of Jubilees, by letting Jesus set us free. Receive from Jesus the ultimate Christmas present — freedom to "serve Him devoutly and through all our days be holy in His sight" (Lk 1:75). This Christmas, proclaim as Martin Luther King preached: "Free at last, Lord God Almighty, free at last!"

Prayer:  "O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appears."

Promise:  "Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before Me; your throne shall stand firm forever." —2 Sm 7:16

Praise:  "Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel because He has visited and ransomed His people" (Lk 1:68).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, June 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 9, 1997