Theme: The Word of Life in Our Midst
By: Fr. Luke Ijezie
Homily for Saturday December 25 2021
The Christmas celebration presents many themes for reflection. Today, I am particularly attracted to the theme of the word, which may be spread out on five points.
1. The word was made flesh and dwelt among us. This is the central point of today’s Gospel from John 1:1-18. The word, called the logos in Greek, was there with God from eternity. It was was there at the beginning of creation. It is a word that captures everything that is in God. It is the mirror image of God. In fact, it is God. To know this word is to know God. It is the principle of creation. To know this word is to know how creation functions. This is the word that has become flesh and has dwelt among us. This is, basically, what we celebrate at Christmas.
2. The word brought life to the world. Wherever it is spoken, there life flourishes. Wherever it is hidden, there death reigns. However, the life it brings is not the material or biological life that easily expires. This is a life that remains because the word from which it comes never dies.
3. The word is the light of the human race. It shows the way to life. Those who follow the light find true life. The light came in the midst of darkness. It was a light given to all who live in darkness so that they can find the way to life. The point is that darkness is a fact of our experience in the world. There is darkness in every society, and this darkness bites. But we are not left to grope in the dark. The light shines so that we can escape from the region of darkness and migrate to the region of light. The paradox is that the light was in the world but most people preferred the darkness. This preference for darkness continues in our day as the great ideals which the word brings about are obscured by many ideological views that project only darkness and death.
4. The word reveals God to us. God spoke to our ancestors in different ways, but now He speaks only through His Son who is the word made flesh. We hear this clearly in the second reading from Heb 1:1-6. Since the Son of God is the only one that has seen God and knows God, he remains the only means for the revelation and knowledge of God. Every other means must bow to him. Jesus is the last and definitive word of God to humanity.
5. We are sent to preach the word. Our mission as Christians is to bear witness to the word, to become heralds of the good news which the word brings. “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!'” (Isaiah 52:7). We hear these words in the first reading from Isa 52:7-10. The prophet Isaiah pictures the herald proclaiming the return of Yahweh to His people. The message is a joyful one and it awakens shouts and dances of joy among a people that has almost lost all hope of deliverance.
The new life which the word of God creates flourishes only if it is proclaimed. The Christmas event reminds us that we are all called like the Blessed Virgin Mary to become the bearers of the word to the world. Our mission is far superior to that of the prophets of old. We are the privileged ambassadors of the word made flesh, the word that has triumphed over the forces of darkness.
Our contemporary society, menaced by many forms of darkness, needs more than ever convinced proclaimers of this eternal word that brings true light. Unfortunately, the messages we often hear are messages that divide and radicalise us to hate. The word that became flesh in Jesus is, on the contrary, a word that invites us to unite and to love without discrimination. It is a word that invites us to share even when we lament that the economy is bad and even when we think we do not have enough to share. Through sharing we become practical heralds of joy which the word brings. It is a word that brings true life, true light, lasting peace and joy.
May we remain courageous bearers of the word! And may the joy and peace, which the word brings, be ours in renewable abundance this Christmas period!
Fr. Luke Ijezie