Fr. Mike’s Homily for Christmas day Year C
Theme: The Spirit of Giving
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches
Homily for Saturday December 25 2021
On this very important day of the year, let us reflect on the core message of the Gospel: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (Jn 3:16). The true spirit of Christmas, therefore, is the spirit of giving.
In a small suburban parish, a day after Christmas, the parish priest was making his regular round of the church, and he discovered that the image of the Baby Jesus was missing from the Belen. He looked outside and saw a little boy riding a three-wheel bike down the street. At the back seat was the image of the Baby Jesus. So, he walked up to the boy and asked, “Son, where did you get that Baby Jesus?” The little boy replied, “I got him from the church.” ”And why did you take him?” asked the pastor. “Well,” the boy explained, “I’m just fulfilling my promise to Jesus. You see, at the start of the Simbang Gabi, I prayed to the Baby Jesus. I told him if he’d give me a bicycle for Christmas, I’d make sure he gets to be the first to ride in it.”
Have we ever wondered why more and more people are getting sick, and society as a whole is going crazy? I am convinced that this is because we have already lost the spirit of giving. We have the common saying, “The more you give, the more you receive.” But I think, the other way around is closer to the truth of Christ’s teaching: “The more you receive, the more you give.”
God is the source of all blessings. We give and share because, in the first place, God has given us all these blessings. Yet, these are not for hoarding, but for sharing. In sending his disciples on a mission, he instructed them: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give” (Mt. 10:7-8). An author, Mark Batterson, puts it aptly: “When God blesses you financially, do not raise your standard of living. Raise your standard of GIVING.”
The problem comes when we hold on to these blessings and refuse to share them with others. This is what happens in our physical body. The food we eat is God’s blessing. But the purpose of eating food is to provide nutrition, fuel and energy for our body. The food calories, then, are meant to be burned and used up. When we eat more than what our body needs, the excess food calories that are not burned are stored as fats around our waistline and inside the wall of our veins and arteries. Continuous buildup of unused calories makes us obese and unhealthy.
This is true with the blessings we receive from God. We only need so much for our personal consumption. The rest we have to let go and share with others. Storing them for ourselves makes us spiritually obese. And since entering God’s kingdom is like a struggle to “enter through the narrow door” (Lk 13:24), the spiritually obese will find it practically impossible to enter. That is why the Lord concluded: “It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Mt. 19:24).
Unfortunately, many people ignore this truth. Instead of sharing their blessings, they hoard and accumulate and, still worse, they even wish to limit the number of people in the world. Nowadays, many leaders of nations subscribe to the Malthusian theory. This came from the British economist Thomas Robert Malthus “who wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), arguing that population tends to increase faster than food supply, with inevitably disastrous results, unless the increase in population is checked by moral restraints or by war, famine, and disease” (cf. Free Online Dictionary). According to him, the poor were “draining the world’s resources,” and a solution would be “to introduce policies specifically designed to bring death to large numbers of peasants.” This is obviously a cruel and inhumane idea, but attractive to some, nonetheless. It, then, gave rise to the applied science of eugenics in the early 20th century, and which Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime readily adopted leading to the extermination of millions of Jews.
Surprisingly, it is precisely this same Malthusian theory that is now being adopted and implemented by most countries all over the world, the Philippines included. The aggressive and systematic push for artificial contraceptives, abortion, capital punishment, extrajudicial killings, euthanasia and all anti-life programs, reveals the desire of national governments to limit population growth based on the notion that economics can be improved by decreasing the surplus population. Instead of sharing resources, governments opt to reduce the number of people, notwithstanding the fact that the people are the most important resource – and in fact, the economic core – of the nation.
When will we ever learn? When will this insanity stop?
This season, we are challenged to imbibe the true spirit of Christmas, which is love, expressed in generous giving and sharing. Like the star that led the Magi to the Infant Jesus, let us all become bright stars in this dark world to enlighten and guide people in their journey towards the fullness of salvation, Jesus Christ.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches