YEAR C: HOMILY FOR CHRISTMAS EVE
HOMILY THEME: BORN TO SAVE
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
HOMILY: Christmas Eve, December 24, (Mt. 1:18-25)
In today’s Gospel we have the account of the birth of Jesus, our Savior, the promised Messiah. The birth of the Saviour was filled with drama, not because God wanted a unique and controversial birth for His Son, but to send the message that Jesus’ mission will not have a smooth sailing. The angel revealed God’s plan. Mary will conceive and bear a son, the Son of God and will be named “Jesus” because HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS. God has planned this a long long time ago. The coming of the Messiah was foretold. Paul, in the second reading, mentioned John who was tasked to prepare the coming of the Lord. During the Simbang Gabi we listened and reflected on all these circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus and John. The theme of faith, obedience to the will of God, God’s omnipotence, and possibility of all things for the Lord, were repetitious. These themes were to become the very messages of the life and ministry of Jesus, the Messiah.
First and foremost, on this momentous day when we remember and celebrate what God has done through the Lord Jesus, we THANK the Lord for fulfilling His promise of a Saviour and salvation. It is easy to neglect this very important act given the way this day is being celebrated for so many years. I do not know what happened, but Christmas has been symbolized inaccurately and differently. The baby Jesus, while still recognized has been covered with lights, flowers, wrapped gifts, toys, food, money, clothes, gadgets, etc. It is hard to judge what are in the hearts of people but the Church and the Faith had been consistent in its remembrance and celebration. The Eucharist, which means Thanksgiving and is a remembrance, is its perfect celebration. Thanks be to God for being faithful to His promise and for giving His Son to humble Himself and become one like us.
“HE WAS BORN TO SAVE!” This is clear in the message of the angel. The one to be born has a mission which His name, “EMMANUEL,” meaning, “God with us.” connotes. Yes, it happened a long time ago, but the celebration of Christmas has become both as a remembrance and an anticipation of the second coming, the end days, or judgment day. Christmas allows us to have a celebration in the spirit of remembering what happened more than two thousand years ago, but it encourages us to dispose ourselves to salvation. While we must always be prepared, our Faith has provided these days, Advent and Christmas, to achieve both goals, celebrate and remember, and prepare for His coming.
What must we do? I am sure many of us feel and think of our unworthiness before the Lord. Unworthiness is good if it culminates to true humility and conversion. It is unfortunate if it becomes a source of pride and complete regression. Pride when it is seen as something present and can never be changed. Regression when we decide to continue being bad because that is our fate. “Wala na akong pga-asa.” “Masama ako. Magpapakasama na lang ako.” “Hindi ako matatanggap ng aking mag kakilala kapag naaman nila mag kahinaan ko.” “Di na ako karat-dapat sa pagmamahal ng Diyos.” These are how we see ourselves. But do we see how God sees us? A story is told about Michelangelo, a great sculptor from Rome, who stopped and looked intently on a rough block of marble. Somebody asked him why he was looking at it intently. Michelangelo’s response was, “Because I see a beautiful angel hidden inside that huge block of marble.”
We are God’s creation. He sees the angel in each and everyone of us. Like Michelangelo who can carve out of that rough block a beautiful angel with his chisel and hammer, God can also form us to be an angel, a good and perfect disciple. If we will only be obedient to Him, we will not remain “rough blocks of marble”. This is the reason why Jesus became man. He wanted to save us. Tonight, let us approach the crib and offer ourselves to Jesus to be formed and bring out the holiness in us.