HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD. MASS DURING THE DAY AT CHRISTMAS
HOMILY THEME: THE REALITY OF GOD ON OUR HUMANITY
BY: Fr. Abbot Philip Lawrence
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
During the Midnight Mass, we rejoiced because the darkness of our world has been shattered and light is shining on the world in Jesus Christ. Today, in the full light of day, we give thanks to the Father for sending us His Son, the true light, who gives light to all who seek light. “From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace.”
The first reading in this Day Mass comes from the Prophet Isaiah again. Only faith allows us to understand the words of the Prophet: “Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the LORD comforts his people, he redeems Jerusalem.” Our world looks so unredeemed! Our world seems always mired in war, caught in the struggle for the wealthy to have more, looking away when hundreds of thousands of people die from wars and struggles and starvation, never willing to say to a Great Power that it is wrong, losing all sense of morality in just about every area. This is the redeemed world?
In the very heart of this human sinfulness God sends rays of light and powers of redemption and only asks that we respond, however feebly. We celebrate the birth of Christ because it is the reality of God taking on our humanity. It is always the same, century after century: love must be willing to suffering and die for the good of others. That is what redemption is. Redemption only makes sense in the world to come. In this life redemption always looks weak and suffering and almost crazy. That is how Jesus looked, even to His followers. That is how we shall look if we accept the birth of Jesus as the birth of God in time.
The second reading is from the Letter to the Hebrews. This is part of what we hear: “In these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word.” What a joke it seems to so many. Jesus was born and died as a common criminal and the world seems still so unchanged.
For us who believe, the world is radically changed because we are invited to live as children of God and to recognize the light in the darkness. We are invited to sacrifice our lives and to die willingly for the good of others. The goal of life is not money, nor power, nor pleasure—the goal of life is doing the will of God.
The Gospel is from Saint John on the Christmas morning. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory.” We only see that glory by faith. With only human eyes, we see simply a human put to death and his followers scattered in confusion. From His fullness we have all received! If we choose to accept faith, then we see the world in the light of faith and all is well because God loves us. All is well because we can live the divine life. All is well because we too can give our lives for others.
Christ is born for us! For us! For us! God so loves this world that God gives us the Son for our salvation. This Christmas morning we can sing and shout for joy because we know that God’s love and mercy has come into the world and we can live that love and mercy by faith. May this day of light draw us deeper into the light.
Fr. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB Christ in the Desert Monastery, Abiquiu, New Mexico