Homily (Reflection) for the Nativity of the Lord (Mass during the Day) (A, B, C) on the GospelIs 52:7-10;
Ps 97:1-6. (R.v. 3);
Jn 1:1-18 or Jn 1:1-5.9-14.
Take a moment to reflect on how you will feel if on your birthday, one or some of your guests vow to make things go wrong. What they do and/or say testify that they are out just to ruin your day.
Topic: Your gift to the newborn Christ.
Birthday is one of the most common anniversaries we have. It is normally a great day for the celebrant, and probably family members and friends who normally invite people to celebrate with them. As the invitees make out time to honour the invitation they also consider the gift to offer to the celebrant. The celebrant normally receives varied gifts.
We celebrate today the Birthday of birthdays. We are celebrating today that the Word was made flesh for our salvation. Despite the fact that the hair has been made, different styles of clothing sewn, shoes bought, houses built, cars bought, and so on and on just for this period, we are also to prepare birthday gifts for Him who was born for us. All these things mentioned and many more are for ourselves not for Him. Gifts say so much about both the giver and how he or she values the receiver.
Today’s gospel pericope reads in part: “All things came into being through him, without him not one thing came into being…. From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (Jn. 1:3, 16). All we have are gifts from God, cf. 1Cor 4:7. So not even offering everything to him will make us think that we have done much. Hence, Jesus taught us: “… when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!” (Lk 17:10). We are nothing before God, cf. Rom 4:2. According to St Ambrose, “Every soul who has believed both conceives and generates the Word of God and recognizes his works” just as Mary believed and conceived. We celebrate life which is light for all peoples, cf. Lk 2:32. And as we celebrate Christ’s birthday, he expects us to offer our lives which ought to be light for others, cf. Matt 5:14.
Just as John the Baptist came as a witness to Christ's first coming which we celebrate today, cf. Matt. 3:11; Mk 1:7; Lk 3:15-16; Jn 1:6-9, we ought to be witnesses that He has come, that He is with us, and that He will come again. We are called to witness to Christ until He comes again, cf. Mk 8:38; Lk 9:26. In this alone we shall find peace and joy. Nothing outside God can offer us anything good. Hence, we shall rejoice and boast only in the Lord, cf. Phil 4:4; Ps 34:2. Let us celebrate this Christmas as Christ’s witnesses. Through prophet Jeremiah God said: “but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practice steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, says the LORD” (Jer 9:24). And the book of Ecclesiastes reads,
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment (Eccl 11:9).
The actual end of the Advent season is yet to come. Christmas is not the end. How one plan to celebrate Christmas says it all how much one understands the mystery we are celebrating, the Nativity of the Lord. Most often we see it just from the social point of view. One can either be a source of pride or of shame to Christ on this birthday. We can ask ourselves whether we present basket of flowers or of shame to Christ. What one does during this Christmas period and not just what one say says it all. We are all invited to Christ’s birthday. Every host regrets inviting one or those who will mar the event. Will Christ regret offering you this rare invitation? Prepare your own gift now if you have not. You still can prepare a better one if the one you prepared is not good enough for the newborn King.
Do not forget the poor out there as you look for Christ to present your gift/s. That man or woman or child out there in need of your help is the Christ we are celebrating his birthday. Do not look for another one, cf. Matt 25: 40, 45.
Bible Readings: Acts 17:28; Rev. 21:1-8; Matt 10: 32-33; Lk 17:7-10.
Thought for today: What do you have for Christ?
Let us pray: Newborn King, give us the grace to be good birthday gifts to you – Amen.
The Word became flesh – and lived among us! (Jn 1:14).
May the peace and the love of the newborn King be with you now and forever + Amen.
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