Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Homily

Christmas Greetings to all of you my brothers and sisters in Jesus! I pray to God that you are all enjoying a wonderful Feast on this very special day that commemorates the birth of the Infant Jesus. For today is a time of great joy for all the nations throughout the world.

During today's First Reading from the Book of Isaiah, [Is. 52:7-10] we heard of the second time when it had been proclaimed to the people that God was coming into the world through Jesus. Earlier in the Book of Isaiah, God had spoken tenderly to the people of Jerusalem through the prophet Isaiah. The Heavenly Father told the people that they had served their term, that their penalty had been paid for their sins, that they had received from the Lord's hand double for all their sins. [Is. 40:2]

Following this, God commanded that Isaiah speak up by saying that a voice cries out, "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God..." [Is. 40:3-6] Running on the mountain ridges, [Is. 40:9-10] the messenger proclaimed the good news.

After the delivery of the good news, began the reconstruction of the wall of Jerusalem, the City of God. Now, for the second time, the good news was being proclaimed to the people. The echoed words were, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns.'" [Is. 52:7] These same words are also found in Nahum 1:15, Romans 10:15 and Ephesians 6:15.

When those who were rebuilding the wall and the people within the City of Jerusalem heard the good news that sank into their hearts, they literally visualized before their eyes that the Lord God was restoring Jerusalem. [Is. 62:6-7]

The people of Jerusalem were called to join into a hymn of thanksgiving to God. [Is. 52:9-10; Zeph. 3:13-8, Lk. 1:26-33] The words of the song announced the good news to Jerusalem, that the Lord has comforted His people, having redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord opened His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations so the ends of the earth could see His salvation. [Is. 52:7-10]

As we have just heard during the Old Testament reading, long ago, God spoke to the people in many and various ways by the prophets. But, when Baby Jesus was born, things changed. Now, God was going to speak to us through His beloved Son. For it is Jesus, through whom all things were created, that God had appointed as heir over all things.

Jesus is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being. Whoever has seen Jesus has seen the Father. [Jn. 14:9] For in Jesus the fullness of God was pleased to dwell bodily. [Col. 1:9, 2:9]

Jesus, the Son of God, sustains all things by His powerful Word. When He had made the perfect human sacrifice as the Lamb of God for the remission of the sins of the world, He sat down at the right hand of the Father. His work on earth as Jesus in physical form was completed. Now, in conjunction with the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is ruling over His spiritual Kingdom in Heaven and on earth.

Through His glorious Resurrection, Jesus who had set aside His Divinity by taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness and being found in human form, [Phil. 2:7] had become superior to all the angels as the name that He inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For, what angel has God said to, "You are My Son, today I have begotten you."? Or to what angel has God said, "I will be Your Father and you will be My Son."? And when God brought Baby Jesus into the world as the firstborn, He said to all the hosts of Heaven, "Let all God's angels worship Him."

Yes, on this day, two thousand years ago, all the hosts of Heaven obeyed God and worshipped Baby Jesus, the Son of God, the promised Messiah, the Redeemer of the world. What a sight this must have been!

Jesus, God incarnated, is the Word of God. He was with God in the beginning and He is God. All things were created through Him. Nothing that exists had its existence without Jesus.

What has come into the world through Jesus who is the Giver of life is eternal life, the eternal assurance of the beatific vision of God in His heavenly Kingdom. Jesus came as the Light of all people, answering the hope of all by showing the way to eternal life, joy and peace.

When Jesus, the Light of God, came into the darkness of the world that was lost in sin, sin did not overcome Him. He who created all things, came into the world and the world did not recognize Him. He came to His own people and His people did not accept Him.

But, to all those who did receive Him, who believed in His Name, He gave the power to become children of God. For, being born again of water and Spirit [Jn. 3:5] (Catechism # 1215) of the Godly seed, [1 Jn. 3:9, 5:18] they were not born of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man.

And so it is that the Word of God took human form and lived on earth. Many have seen His glory, His glory as of a Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.

Through Jesus, we receive grace after grace. At first came the Law into the world through Moses. But now, grace and truth came into the world through Jesus Christ. While no one has ever seen God, it is Jesus who is God and who is close to the Father's heart, who has revealed God the Father to mankind.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, a Child was born for us. As you look at Baby Jesus in the manger, always remember that the fullness of God dwelled in Him. In Jesus was the fullness of the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. [Col. 1:9, 2:9] Those who know Jesus, they also know the Father for they are One.

The mystery of Christmas tells us that through Jesus, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit came into the world as One in bodily form. As we have heard during Advent, the Holy Spirit came upon the Blessed Virgin Mary at her moment of conception. Jesus Himself told the people repeatedly that He was One with the Father, that the Father was in Him, and that those who have seen Him, have seen the Father.

Through Jesus, the invisible Heavenly Father took physical form. Through Jesus, the Holy Spirit dwelled until Jesus commended His Spirit into the hands of the Father. [Lk. 23:46]

Baby Jesus came into the world for each and everyone of us, so that we may be saved. Through Jesus, our living faith that is manifested through the Sacraments of the Catholic Church leads us towards the Light of God and the truth as our assurance of salvation and eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Let us never forget this! From the time we rise in the morning to the time we go to bed at night, let us always be thankful to Jesus for manifesting to us the goodness and love of God.

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