Christmas Homily 2011
It’s Christmas and a little story for you. Once there was man in Europe who was decent, gentle and generous. But he felt Christmas as a lot of rubbish. “The whole business of Incarnation where God becomes man sounds crazy, it doesn’t make any sense to me”, he told his wife, who was a faithful churchgoer. It was Christmas eve and he wasn’t a Scrooge. So, he allowed his wife and children to go to midnight Mass. Soon after they left, it started to snow – it was a perfect white Christmas! But suddenly he heard some shattering noise at the living room windows. It was a flock of birds huddled miserably in storm, searching for shelter and trying to fly through his window. He felt sympathy – “after all it’s Christmas, I should help them.” He remembered the barn where the children’s pony was stabled. It would provide them a warm shelter. He went outside, opened the barn and invited the birds to come in. They wont come. He started to do all the tricks – switched on the light, put a trail of breadcrumbs, shooing them into the barn – but wont work. He was devastated. “I wanted to help these bloody ignorant birds” he said himself, “but they don’t get it. “And I can’t seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me. If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety. . . .”
Just at that moment the church bells rang- the Christmas Mass. He stood silent for a while and then he sank to his knees in the snow. “Now I understand,” he whispered. “Now I see why You had to do it.”
And that’s why He did it – the Emmanuel – God is with us – so that we may understand, and be led to safety – for our salvation and for us to know the mind of God and to touch his kindness in human form. Now we got a model and example before us, who can perfectly communicate God to us. And God communicated Himself to us by being a part of family - father, mother and a child – Joseph, Mary and Jesus.. That’s why Christmas is a family celebration and also Christmas is a celebration of “family”. That’s the reason why we are supposed to enjoy a beautiful Christmas lunch with our family and friends around. Hope you all will have good time with Christmas gifts and Turkey tomorrow/today!
Let us also not forget the tiniest (and most insignificant) of our human family as we share Christmas joy with our dear and near ones. Let’s make sure that every child in our families gets a chance to be born from the very moment of conception in his/her mother’s womb, as Jesus could be born into our world. Let’s make sure that every child gets the warmth of a family with a father and a mother ensuring complimenting dimensions of parenthood, as Jesus was blessed with a family. Let’s make sure that every human being gets an asylum if they run away from persecution as baby Jesus did from King Herod and not to be perished in the sea.
And after all JOY is putting J and O before Y. That is, Jesus, Others before You! Let’s allow Jesus to take the center-stage in our lives. Let’s love him – he is very cute in that manger on the crib and also in our hearts. Let’s also love others and put their needs before us. Let’s overflow our humanity with Christmas gifts to the marginalized and the poor – we could give generously to the Archbishop’s Christmas Appeal for charity today or to Vinnies or Caritas or others. By bringing JOY to others and ourselves, let’s join the party of Jesus’ birthday. Merry Christmas and safe travelling!
- With inputs from: http://www.frtommylane.com/homilies/years_abc/second_sunday_after_christmas-2.htm, http://www.munachi.com/z/christmaseve.htm
- Delivered at Corpus Christi parish, Tuggeranong, Canberra, Australia