Christmas Day 2020: Scriptures, Homily

Read scriptures for Mass during the Day

Listen to today’s homily

My dear followers of Jesus,

Jesus touched the earth. Mary’s womb opened and she birthed love in the darkness. The infant was mystery and miracle.  He was the promised Light. He brought hope to human flesh. He became love incarnate. His voice echoed heaven. His eyes revealed the mystery of the Father. His purpose was motivated by the Holy Spirit. His life would teach us everything about life and about death. In his swaddling clothes we saw the cloth from the future of the empty tomb. However, this is not only the past. Jesus is still revealing light in us. Miracles still bloom. The Word is still Flesh.

We all know that pain, in order for it to heal, needs to be touched. So, Jesus became a healer for us. He touched the separations of peoples. Jesus touched the world. He touched humanity’s profound pain. He touched our sin in his passion. His resurrection claimed new life for us all. In Jesus all life is still wonder and tenderness. This day, Jesus touches us. He heals. He reveals heaven.

We know we need to be touched in order to thrive. As humans, we need the assurance that we are not alone. In this pandemic, being touched by another human has been rare. A lack of touch seems so unimaginable. Yet, my dear believers, Jesus has touched the earth this day in you and in me.

Please, allow the love of God to touch your heart, your soul. This is Christmas Day. This is the moment in which we reach out from the barrenness of our hearts, from the turmoil on our streets, from the exhaustion of our health-care workers, from the despair of our restaurant owners, to the outpouring of love that is tucked in the corner of a cave, in the presence of child. His mystery flows in us from the wonder-place of heaven. A new earth is ours in faith.

Finding Christmas calls us to touch the pain of others. This is the Eucharist in the world. Justice thrives in our actions to name, to touch, to face the realities of life. In Jesus Christ, a new heaven and a new earth is born. The Word is among us.

God give you peace.

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2020: Cover Art and Column

Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 20, 2020

Dear Believers in the Incarnate Christ,

We proclaim Luke 1:26-38 on this Fourth Sunday of Advent. On this last Sunday before Christmas, the gospel and the prayer texts take a slight turn in tone. For these past weeks, we have been reflecting upon the Second Coming of Christ. We have heard the mighty voice of the adult John the Baptist herald the coming of the Kingdom. We have listened to the adult Jesus ask us to be prepared and stay alert. Today, as it is traditional on the Fourth Sunday, the liturgy seems to calm down. No more finger pointing to what is to come, no more loud prophets calling out in deserts. Here we wait for the birth of Jesus. We listen to Mary and to this amazing angel.

I always wait to read about the presence of Gabriel in Advent. I love this angel. His presence and his voice herald a new presence of Christ Jesus. Here, he appears to a young girl named Mary. He voices some remarkable things to this young virgin. Out of the blue, he says to her that she is full of grace. Wow, can you imagine what Mary must have thought about hearing this coming from a creature of heaven? I can’t imagine that she knew exactly what an angel was let alone that she was graced, and that God was with her.

The amazing thing about this encounter, is that Gabriel reveals that she will carry a child and that his kingdom will have no end. “How can this be…?” is certainly the question of her lifetime.

I have read this gospel my entire life and I still ponder such an incredible happenstance. Luke’s desire to give voice and credibility to this young teen, a woman with no cultural power, is beautiful.

Gabriel has more to say. And this statement is also for us, the gospel reader. Gabriel says to Mary, after he reveals the fact of her cousin’s pregnancy with John, “for nothing will be impossible for God.” This is the miracle of God’s presence. This is the miracle of the Incarnation. I believe with my entire being that all things find their common good in God. God’s ways are not our ways necessarily, but all will be well in God. All will be well. All things.

This week, we celebrate Christmas. I know it will not be like other Christmases. We will struggle to be in the same room with grandchildren. We will travel less. Even our numbers at Mass will not pack the church. However, we all still live in these amazing words from Gabriel. For nothing will be impossible for God, no matter our need for healing in this pandemic or the economic upheavals so many are facing. We know that all things, even our schooling for children or the boredom of our aging relatives, will be well.

Please know of my prayers for all of you and your extended families this Christmas. This is a tough time for all of you. I have never been in such a difficult leadership position. I know many people are waiting for more at our parish. Yet, we still need to be prudent in our efforts. So, no matter where you are celebrating this Christmas, please feel the prayers of our staff, the goodness of this community and the fidelity of the Word-Made-Flesh. Jesus is here for us in our efforts to rebuild so much of our lives in 2021.

Before I leave this Advent gospel, just one more thing. After all that Mary hears from the Angel, she says, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” This is one of the most important and sustaining prayers in the scriptures. I believe with all my heart that it is the prayer we need to store in our hearts during these painful months. As we ponder the gifts we have been given in God, our family, our friends, our talents and so much more, we too, say Mary’s, “Yes”, to God.

Perhaps this yes is the gift we can give to one another this Christmas. This affirmation will lead us well beyond our own selfishness and into the beauty of God’s plan for us as a people. We harmonize with Mary’s voice this Christmas. “Yes!”

Merry Christmas to you, your loved ones, and beyond. Allow In your hearts, peace to reside.

God give you peace,

Fr. Ron