There is a departure today at mass in the First Reading. It is not from the Prophet Isaiah, but from a humorous incident from the Book of Numbers. The King of Moab hires a freelance prophet called Balaam (and there is archeological evidence that a Balaam did exist) to curse the Hebrews who are about to try to conquer the Promised Land. There is a talking donkey and a REVERSAL: Balaam can only bless the Hebrews and their endeavors. In today’s excerpt, he talks about a star and scepter, meaning that the Hebrews will prevail. Many see the star as pointing to the Star of Bethlehem and the coming of the messiah.
What does it mean to you that God decided to become a little baby that first Christmas? He came as a human being, not to give us a “holiday” or an opportunity to put up decorations, but to save us. He came so that we would have the opportunity for transformation. What does the Incarnation mean to you?