HOMILY FOR CHRISTMAS (MASS AT DAWN)
Theme: HE SAVES US BY MEANS OF BAPTISM!
By: Ben Agbo (Rev Fr)
*Is 62 : 11 – 12, Titus 3 : 4 – 7, Lk 2 : 15 – 20.
MYSTERIES OF LIGHT
1. The mysteries of Light has summarized the whole process of salvation as wrought by our Saviour Jesus Christ. Today’s 2nd reading says it all: ‘He saves us by means of the cleansing water of baptism (rebirth) and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit generously poured out through Jesus Christ’.
– 1Pet 3 : 21 says it emphatically that ‘Baptism now saves us not through mere washing of bodily guilt but by the pledge of a good conscience’.
1b. The 1st reading announces with confidence that we are now called ‘the Holy people, the Lord’s redeemed’. The Christian (onye otu Kristi) is not merely the baptized or confirmed or communicant but the true believer and doer of the Word of God, Matt 7 : 21, Jn 8 : 31.
2. The miracle of turning water into wine, Jn 2 : 1 – 11 through the intercession of our Blessed Virgin Mary is the 2nd mystery of our salvation establishing God as our great provider, Gen 22 : 14 in his son Jesus Christ through his mother Mary.
3. The preaching about the kingdom remains the main focus of the Kerygma : ‘Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand’, Matt 3 : 2 not prosperity preaching as we find today. ‘Religion’ says Bishop Godfrey Onah, ‘is not business but faith’.
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4. The miracle of transfiguration, Matt 17 : 1 – 8 reminds us of the great challenge of transmogrification facing every believer in Christ. He who is in Christ is a new creation, the old self must give way, 2 Cor 5 : 17.
5. The sacrament of the Eucharist, Jn 6 : 54, 1Cor 10 : 16 remains our highest gift for sanctity. The sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist work together as sacraments of initiation together with the sacraments of penance and anointing of the sick which services them. The last 2 sacraments : Holy Orders and Matrimony are the Advanced Level sacraments for spiritual elders.
6. Regeneration happens when the believer ‘in fear and trembling works out his salvation, Phil 2 : 13. It happens when the believer makes effort to support his faith with goodness, knowledge, understanding, self control, perseverance, devotion, filial love and agape love, 2 Pet 1 : 3 – 9.
* As St Augustine put it : ‘The Son of God became the Son of man so that the sons of men may become sons of God ‘.
7. In order to mark this year’s Christmas as a special one make sure you equip yourself with these special gifts for the following special people ;
(i) The best gift you can give your creator is devotion.
(ii) To your parents obedience.
(iii) To your leaders cooperation.
(iv) To your seniors respect.
(v) To your juniors good example.
(vi) To your spouse love.
(vii) To your employer hardwork.
(viii) To your friend sincerity.
(ix) To your colleagues regard
(x) To your opponent tolerance.
(xi) To your customers politeness.
(xii) To strangers hospitality.
(xiii) To your child discipline.
(xiv) To your self contentment.
(xv) To your enemy forgiveness.
(xvi) To the needy charity.
(xvii) To the ignorant knowledge.
(xviii) To everybody kindness.
(xix) To the work of God service.
(xx) To the dead prayer.
Happy Christmas once again dear friends!
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