Theme: Light And Darkness
Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth
By: Deacon Bill Frere
Homily for Tuesday December 28 2021
Gospel – Matthew 2:13-18
I’ve pretty much gotten to the point that I dread reading the daily newspaper. Every day more violence and bloodshed in Chicago! Not just far from our home but right in the neighborhood, a few blocks away. And not just a singular event but more and more frequently every week!
“A 15-year-old boy and a 19-year-old woman were wounded in a shooting in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood early Thursday morning, according to Chicago police. The shooting took place just after midnight in the 5300 block of West Belden. Police say the boy was riding his bicycle and the woman was standing on the street when someone walked up and fired shots.” (Chicago Tribune)
“Boy, 11, among 2 shot inside Jefferson Park apartment; man charged, Chicago police say. A Northwest Side man is facing two felony gun charges in connection with the shooting Christmas Eve night of two people, including an 11-year-old boy, in Jefferson Park. The shooting took place about 11:35 p.m. in the 5400 block of North Austin Avenue, Chicago police said. (ABC 7 News)
In the City of Chicago alone, 409 children have been shot thus far in 2021! 57 children have been killed! Lives abruptly ended too soon! Young lives, full of promise and hope brought to a tragic end much too soon! So much violence and darkness that it can be difficult to see the light and appreciate the Christmas Star!
When you consider the daily Gospel readings, it feels as if, just in the last 3 days, we have encountered the highs and lows of emotions. Christmas, the joy and peace of the birth of the Savior! Yesterday, on the Feast of the Holy Family, it was all bright with hope and promise. After finding Him in the Temple preaching and teaching at the age of 12, Mary and Joseph take Jesus home to Nazareth where He grows in strength and wisdom and favor with the Lord.
And today we retreat into the darkness of Herod the Great! He is a ruler obsessed with power and greed. He had his own sons executed to avoid any threat to his throne. He is selfish, jealous, spiteful and arrogant; he thinks only of himself. Like all of us, he has a choice between living in the light or succumbing to the darkness of violence and selfishness. When he is visited by the Magi, he deliberately chooses to be deceitful and dishonest, insisting that he wants to honor the newborn king. And when he realizes that the Magi have avoided returning to him, he acts in rage and massacres all male infants under the age of two. It is a horrible and bloody story of a cruel and vengeful ruler who had the chance to embrace the light and selfishly thought only of himself.
We face a similar choice every day – choose light or retreat further into the darkness. Do we embrace compassion and kindness, forgiveness and selflessness? Or do we focus only on ourselves with lies, self-pity, regret and jealousy or even violence? Do we come into the light of the Savior? Or do we hide in the darkness of our fears? In the face of all this negativity and distrust, of violence in mind and action – Be The Light!
Grant, we pray, O Lord, that the faith in you which we confess with our lips may also speak through our manner of life.
Deacon Bill Frere