Homily Christmas 2014 (Notte di Natale)
24th December 2014
Midnight Mass Homily
THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND
AMONG US…. SO THAT WE MIGHT HAVE LIFE IN ABUNDANCE
1. God comes to fulfil his promises and not our expectations. How many times do we miss God's blessings because they are not packaged as we expected?
2. This Word, the agent of creation, has become a creature. He who brought the universe into existence now is born within the universe as a human being. Here, is evidently used to denote "human nature" or "man." The "Word" was made "man." This is commonly expressed by saying that he became "incarnate”.
3. In becoming, He did not cease to be the Eternal Word. His divine nature was not laid aside. Retaining all the essential properties of the Word, He entered into a new mode of being, not a new being. He assumed human nature entire, identifying Himself with the race of man, having a human body, a human soul, and a human spirit.
4. And dwell among us - The word in the original denotes "dwelt as in a tabernacle or tent;" To "dwell in a tent with one" is the same as to be in his family; and when John says he "tabernacled" with them, he means that he was with them as a friend and as one of a family, so that they had full opportunity of becoming familiarly acquainted with him, and could not be mistaken in supposing that "he was really a man."
5. An application of all this. An example taken from Thomas Merton who speaking to his novices (and here we can think of ourselves ) said : "There is only one thing for anybody to become in life. There’s no point in becoming spiritual – the whole thing is a waste of time. What you came here for is to become yourself, to discover your complete identity to be you. But the catch is that of course our full identity as monks and Christians is Christ. It is Christ in each of us… I’ve got to become me in such a way that I am the Christ that can only be the Christ in me. There is a John Christ that must be brought into existence and hasn’t matured yet. It has a long way to go."* There is a John Christ (a Thomas Merton Christ), a you Christ, a me Christ - each one of us is called and graced to be our true self - the self that God has made us to be.”
6. Incarnation means that if you want to find God , you have to find him in our nature and humanity (human –unity ). You and I have to find God in our humanity made up of fragilities, brokness, affections, joys, sexuality , in whatever makes up and we experience in our humanity. If we do not find God in there reality we make the incarnation “null “. Useless. The mystery of Incarnation calls us to generate the Son of God in us. St. Ambrose used to say that “ the one who believes conceives and generates in his soul the Son of God “. Always St. Ambrose adds that between the moment of conception and the generation there can be an abortion and the refusal of the fruit of conception. We need to be careful. We run the risk to abort Christ in what we think and do.
7. Incarnation calls for another incarnation: my incarnation in Christ. The Christ who has a face of a Nigerian, Italian, English, Polish, Ucrain , a story, a journey….
8. QUOD NON EST ASSUMPTUM, NON EST REDEMPTUM. What is not assumed , is nor redeemed. Christ has assumed us so that we might be redeemed, but how about us: Do we assume Christ? Do we make him our possession?
9. In the providence of God this now is our place and our time. We are called here to serve, not only one another but our neighbours and our communities and families and extended families, and to “incarnate” the very presence of God in these places. Yes, that goes for the likes of limited and fallible and frail and sinful folk like us, just the sorts of folks whom Jesus used to turn the world upside down. The calling could not be higher, it could not be more challenging, and it could not be more exciting, if we can see it, and claim it.
10. The Fathers of the Church have said in so many ways that “ God became man, so that Man could become God “.
11. Incarnation and human dignity. We were naked, and he came to cover us up with his love. We now have nothing to fear. We are sure and Him is our shelter and shield. What’s more?
12. “Caro cardo salutis” (cfr Tertullian ): We cannot Know God ( with our mind) , but we can re-cognize HIM ( with our heart ). Caro ( meaning The Word ) , Cardo ( meaning the pivotal point, the central point ) salutis ( stands for salvation ).
13. Salutis …to stay well. Only in Christ we find our peace . He is our peace. We feel at home. We feel wholesome.
14. You are Christ’s Hands by Teresa of Avila “ Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours, Yours are the eyes through which to look out Christ’s compassion to the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now ”.
15. The positive act of a foreigner : Christ the foreigner /forestiero “ He was with God… and he came… to bring life. To bring not something of himself, but his very self, This is the path we have to walk on. There is no other.
16. A commitment: to communicate Christ and only Christ in the language of Christ which is love. Happy Christmas men and women of God.