Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holy Family Homily

In my 18 months here, I imagine that you’ve come to know or recognize my nerdiness. I don’t mean that I’m socially awkward, though I can be, but that I like to know how things work. I don’t just like to know your job, I want to know what or how you do it. I don’t just like to know what you made for dinner, I want to know how you made it. Receiving a gift is good but understanding that gift is better. This is why I love being Catholic because so many of our feasts are not simply about the gift but about understanding it.

On Christmas Eve and Day we celebrated the reception of a gift. We received the gift, for no thing is greater than God. In the midst of our busy cleaning, eating, returning and more; do we stop and think: what does this gift, the gift of God mean? The days after Christmas: the Feast of the Holy Family and the Feast of the Mother of God especially are meant to think about the gift. What does it mean that God chose a human being to save humanity? What does it mean that Jesus had a divine will and a human will united within one person? What does it mean that Jesus was raised in the quiet of a poor human family for 30 years?

Well, I’m just as tired as you from this beginning of our Christmas season, so while I cant fully answer these questions today, I do desire to aim our thoughts for the remaining 10 of the 12 days of Christmas.

God deliberately chose a family to rear, teach, and love the Son until He began His saving work at the age of thirty. God deliberately chose a frail human: body, mind and soul for His own in Jesus Christ, Emmanuel. This means there must be some higher good, some higher aim for us as human beings within human relationships. We know that our humanity is weak, we know that we are sinners and yet God chose that same humanity for Himself to show us what more we can desire from our human life.

One of the most important thing for newlyweds to do is to simply be with each other. From that simple appreciation they grow in wonder and awe that each would choose the other and truly become a beautiful couple. By coming to us in human flesh, God has wedded His divinity to our humanity. We must spend time in these twelve days of Christmas wondering what this great gift means.

Christian salvation isn’t simply a matter for the end of our life, for our deathbed, but is something that can season and change our whole life. This is why our enemy, Satan, opposes us- not simply in going to Christmas Mass but in even thinking about what Christmas means. Jesus was true God and true man from the first moment of His conception in the Virgin’s womb. In the life of Jesus from conception to death and the resurrection, God shows us what human life can be. Our own life will be richer, our own humanity more truly human, if we make the time this Christmas to read, to pray, and to wonder. Won’t you be a Catholic nerd with me?


Irenaeus said...

Hey Father. What's your sermon for tomorrow (4 Jan.)? I need some ideas for my own:)

Fr. Andrew said...

Desiring to go bold on the meaning of Epiphany, that God has revealed himself to us in Christ so we can make bold claims about human fulfillment and happiness, especially regarding the moral life. I don't think I'll even touch "hot button issues" but simple establish that we have a moral claim.

More topical really, than exegetical. But hey? I might tie that in with the magi seeking Jesus. (we are observing epiphany now, btw) Mainly against the notion that Christin morality is for only Christians but is actually good for everyone. Still looking for my entrance into the topic...always the toughest part.

Irenaeus said...

Good stuff, father. Topical is OK.

Are we in Epiphany? I thought it was officially Jan 6.

Do you listen to Fr. Barron's podcasts? He's got a good one (#417) for epiphany, parts of which I might borrow for tomorrow, as I'm combing the text for tomorrow (John 1) with the Matt 2.1-12 (for Tuesday's Epiphany).

If I ever become a prof of homiletics (which actually is something of an option -- long story), I'll have my classes listen to Fr Barron.

Fr. Andrew said...

Yeah, typical of US Catholicism to change obligatory feasts (Epiphany and Ascension) to the Sunday. Alas. Yeah, I've heard some of Fr. Barron's homilies. Interestingly enough, I think he's had a change of tune in his theology in the recent years. Not sure what the full story is, but our new (2 years) Bishop was wary of his name on some recent works due to past experience.

Homily vs. Sermon. I find it hard to get truly and really exegetical in a 7 minute target, especially coming form a covenant frame of thought (Tim Gray).

Irenaeus said...

Change of direction?

The Ironic Catholic said...

Won't you be a Catholic nerd with me?--that's great.

p.s. sure!