Christmas Homily 2019
by our Pastor, Fr. Emmanuel
“Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord” (cf. Lk 2:11) What a wonderful mystery? What a great surprise? From the infinite Kingdom of Heaven, the Word of God journeys to the small town of Bethlehem. The Light from Light enters a darkened world in the middle of the night. The Only-Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages, takes on flesh and is born of the lowly Blessed Virgin Mary. The All-Powerful God becomes vulnerable, unable to move His limbs as He is wrapped in swaddling clothes. The Word through whom all things were made, including blazing sun, relies on the embrace of His mother to keep Him warm. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords is now under the guardianship of a humble carpenter.
Isaiah says, “a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace” (Is 9:5), but He sleeps this silent night in a manger — a trough for cattle. The glory of the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity is hidden under the veil of flesh, but not lost. His divine nature is perfectly united to human nature so that we might be able to see the living God face to face and be saved. Rejoice! Our God has come to save us! He is Jesus, God saves us. He is Emmanuel, God is with us. Two most meaningful names!
Without eyes enlightened by faith, all that can be seen is a baby like any other. To those with faith, however, He is the Savior; He is God with us. Mary knows that “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” (Lk 1:32–33). Joseph knows that Jesus “will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21). The multitude of angels know Who He is and so they praise God saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Lk 2:14). The shepherds know that Jesus is the Savior because they are told by the angels to bow down before Him. The Magi, come to adore the Child and to offer him special gifts.
Today, with the shepherds, let us kneel down and adore Him, our King, our Savior. Today with the Magi present gifts worthy of the King of Kings: the gift of our worship. Today, we sing with the angels who have not ceased praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest” (Lk 2:14). Today, we are like Mary, contemplating the Lord present among us. Today, we are like Joseph who watch over and guard the Lord’s presence. Today, let us listen to the words of the angel: “do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people . . . a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord” (Lk 2:10–11).
[at the 5 pm Mass for the Children I asked them a question: What are the two main differences between Santa Claus and Jesus. Many children raised their hands, and we know they will their hands even if they do not know the answer. Some gave some good answers, without going to them I conclude: the first difference is that Santa Claus comes through the Chimney. But Jesus does not come through a Chimney. Jesus comes through our hearts! And the second difference: Santa Claus disappears after placing the gift under the Christmas tree, but Jesus never disappears. He always remains with us. He doesn’t give a material gift and leave us, but he gives himself and always remains with us. ]
I would like to quote a few words from the Christmas message given by Pope Francis. He asks, “What does that Child in the manger, born for us of the Virgin Mary, has to tell us? What is the universal message of Christmas? It is that God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters.”
Pope Francis says: “This truth is the basis of the Christian vision of humanity. Without the fraternity that Jesus Christ has bestowed on us, our efforts for a more just world fall short, and even our best plans and projects risk being soul-less and empty. For this reason, my wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity. Fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture. Fraternity among people with different ideas, yet capable of respecting and listening to one another. Fraternity among persons of different religions. Jesus came to reveal the face of God to all those who seek him.
As brothers and sisters, we are all different from each other. We do not always agree, but there is an unbreakable bond uniting us, and the love of our parents helps us to love one another. May this Christmas help us to rediscover the bonds of fraternity linking us together as individuals and joining all peoples.”
Pope Francis continued: “May the little child whom we contemplate today in the manger, watch over all the children of the world, and every frail, vulnerable and discarded person. May all of us receive peace and consolation from the birth of the Savior and, in the knowledge that we are loved by the one heavenly Father, realize anew that we are brothers and sisters and come to live as such!”
Today as we celebrate Christmas we celebrate the historical birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. We also celebrate the ‘Glorious Second Coming’ of Jesus. But most important we welcome Jesus who comes into our lives every moment. He comes to us in unexpected ways and times, in an unexpected manner. The risen Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdeline and she thought it was the gardener. The risen Jesus appeared to the two disciples going to Emmaus and they thought he was a stranger. Joseph and Mary looked for a room in Bethlehem but they heard from the inn keeper there is no room here. Finally Mary gave birth to Jesus in the manger. Jesus was homeless Jesus comes into our lives in the form of a servant, as a gardener, as a strange person, as a homeless, as one in prison or in a hospital, or as a friend or even as an enemy. We should never miss him when he comes into our lives. So we have to be vigilant because we do not know how he comes, when he comes. Let us be ready always to welcome him. As the disciples going to Emmaus recognized Jesus while they were breaking bread so too do we recognize Jesus in the Eucharist. This Eucharistic celebration will help us to meet Jesus not only in the Eucharist but in every person we meet with. Once again I wish you all A Happy Christmas! May the infant Jesus in the manger bless you all and your families. Amen.