28 January, 2017

Homily for Christmas Day - We are not alone

John 1:1-18
The Word became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14)
Altar with the relic of the manger of OL Jesus Christ - Rome
I firmly believe that children are capable of demonstrating unexpected care for others in ways which we would not even dream of doing as adults. Equally, children are often braver and more selfless that what we ourselves would imagine; and in their child-like instinctive courage they show us a willingness to share other people’s conditions in an attempt to make things better. I am sure each parent can recount an instance when their child has amazed them with unexpected love for others… This desire and willingness to be alongside others originates in a compassion deep seated in the human heart. We might see it expressed more readily in children, but this is the same desire we feel when we see a loved one suffering and we would do anything to trade places with them or to take upon ourselves a share of their pain. And this same desire is found deep in the heart of God; a longing to experience the joys and difficulties of humanity by way of being with them.
The Word became flesh and lived among us
Today’s gospel uses an expression that is as essential to the Christians faith as the Lord’s Prayer: the Word became flesh and lived among us. It literally means that God became one of us and pitched his tent alongside us as a fellow traveller and pilgrim in this world, to share with us uncertainties and fears; and it all begun with the birth of a little baby born on the margin of society.
But what difference would a child make? What difference would the Child of Mary make? Especially when we still see humanity engaged in every sorts of violent and self-destructing behaviour. How exactly is it possible that a little boy from Bethlehem would change these things? What difference can He make? The difference is that Jesus came into the world to share willingly our conditions out of God’s love and deep longing for each one of us. Jesus, God-with-us, did not come into the world as cunning politician who would sort out the welfare state; he neither came to reign from an ivory tower, nor to act as a super hero. He came first as a little child; to grow up as someone like me or you, moving about like we do, and experiencing all that we do; with the end result of totally changing our sense of purpose and direction.
The Word became flesh and lived among us
Or, as a popular carol puts it
...day by day like us he grew;
he was little, weak and helpless,
tears and smiles like us he knew.
and he feeleth for our sadness,
and he shareth in our gladness.
God came down from heaven to be with us in every situation we face. And so the true message of Christmas is that we are not alone; God is with us because his love for us compelled Him to share in our condition through and through. We are not alone, not in the great joy we experience today, and neither in moments of terrible sorrow. He knows everything, our laughs and our secret scars; and the only thing He wants to do is be with us at all times to protect us and guide us.
Let us open the doors of our hearts to him.
“Do not be afraid!
Open, I say open wide the doors for Christ.”

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