Audio Available!

Audio Available!
Be sure to check out in each blog post the links to the audio recordings of my homilies. They are at the beginning of each post! Also, look to the right for links to Audio from other good resources!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas homily

Audio: https://docs.google.com/a/stpius.net/file/d/0B1r8CMMH17Y0cElfM1Etb0hnS3pwRDBZRWlSSXNObDBteXdJ/edit?usp=docslist_api

Today we celebrate one of the most central truths of the Christian faith: Jesus Christ was born - God became a little child in order to be with us.  Emmanuel we call Him: "God-with-us".  It really is true, God is with us.  He comes right into our world, not as a warrior-king with all the worldly authority and power we can imagine, but just the opposite: as a vulnerable and poor child, without even a home of His own.
It's interesting that there is no room at the inn for them.  I think that speaks to our parish in a special way as we continue with our plans, thanks to your generosity, to build a larger church: we want to make sure there is enough room for Jesus to be present to His people.  We are the Body of Christ, and the Lord desires to have a home here with us so that we can truly worship together and not broken up into so many separate small groups (like at the three 5:00 Christmas Eve Masses celebrated simultaneously).  There is a beauty to seeing Jesus at work in each other, and thanks to God for the way He is at work in our midst, drawing our parish into a stronger and more united family of faith, and never abandoning us.
Emmanuel comes right into our messy lives.  God is with us even when we aren't prepared for Him.  He doesn't wait for us to be "ready" for Him because He knows we'll never be completely ready for Him - Advent would last forever!   Instead, He comes into our mess in order to help us out along the way.  And I've seen that so concretely in the sacrament of Confession: God meeting us where we are, loving us where we are, and walking alongside us as we journey to become the best-version-of-ourselves, one step at a time toward holiness and happiness - which are really the same thing.

GS 22 - The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. For Adam, the first man, was a figure of Him Who was to come,(20) namely Christ the Lord. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear. It is not surprising, then, that in Him all the aforementioned truths find their root and attain their crown.
He Who is "the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15),(21) is Himself the perfect man. To the sons of Adam He restores the divine likeness which had been disfigured from the first sin onward. Since human nature as He assumed it was not annulled,(22) by that very fact it has been raised up to a divine dignity in our respect too. For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice(23) and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin.(24)



"God became like us so that we could become like him" - Saint Athanasius
We look to Jesus to reveal to us what we are called to be.  He reveals to us the way we were made to be.
So, with Mary and Joseph, with the shepherds and the angels, we look at the Christ child in order to learn from Him.  What virtues do we see in Our Lord Jesus? We see profound Humility - God makes Himself into a creature because He loves us that much. We see littleness and gentleness. Even we see weakness (according to worldly standards), for somehow through our weakness God's power is made even stronger and more clear.  Let us look at Jesus and contemplate what we are meant to be: asking what is the best-version-of-myself that this child reveals to me?

Lastly, this Lord Jesus reveals to us the importance of the Eucharist as well.  For us Catholics, Emmanuel or God-with-us takes on a very special meaning in the Eucharist.  Thanks to the unbelievable humility of God, and to His amazing love which desires to be so close to us, even as a bridegroom rejoicing with His bride, we are able to receive this greatest of all gifts: Holy Communion, wherein the Lord Jesus becomes God-within-us!  Bethlehem literally means "house of bread" and that is what every Catholic church becomes: the heavenly house of divine bread, where in the Tabernacle we find our Lord Jesus, Emmanuel, present to us and showering us with His love.  May we always let the Lord Jesus feed us with His life-changing presence in our personal prayer, in Sunday Mass, and in the sacrament of Confession.  Lord Jesus, we love you; thank you for coming into our mess; please transform our hearts.


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