Homily for the Solemnity Nativity of the Lord Year A
Theme: The Virtue of Simplicity
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Wednesday December 25 2019
God works in the most simple and mysterious of ways. He always surprises us with the simplicity of His operations, especially when we are driven by the opacity of human calculations and flamboyance and we begin to suppose how God must act in order to manifest His greatness. He takes us by surprise, bringing the mystery of His being and intervention on our behalf to us in ways that are concretely and easily accessible to us. This is actually the truth about the Feast of Christmas, of the birth of God in human form. May He who chose to come to us in the simplicity of the Baby in the Manger open our hearts to receive Him in simplicity and love; Amen.
The History of Salvation is a journey of many faces and stages spanning through many centuries and reaching its culmination in the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word. Many of the prophets and oracles of old pointed to the day when God will intervene definitely in our relationship with Him to perpetually savage what was damaged by the disobedience of man. This has to do with the sending of His only Begotten Son in the form of man. The Incarnation of the Word changed the direction of our story with God and this is why the Feast of the Birth of Christ is celebrated with the greatest solemnity and joy. It is a day foreseen by all the prophets, seen by countless number of witnesses and relived by us in the entirety of our life as Christians, but especially in the Liturgy. One striking thing about the actual scene of the Christmas Feast is the simplicity with which God reveals Himself to us. This is seen in everything that was associated with the birth of Christ. In the simplicity of Mary, the Mother of Christ, and of Joseph her spouse. In the simplicity of Mary’s innocence and docility to the will of God was revealed the beauty of her personality which was ignited by the power of God’s grace at work in her. In her simplicity, she carried the greatest of mysteries in her womb and nurtured God through the process of human growth. In his simplicity, Joseph housed and nurtured the fullness of Divinity in his home and became numbered among the most blessed of all human beings (Mt 1:1-25).
The village where He was born is known for its simplicity. Never was Bethlehem known as a place of luxury and fame, but rather as a place of the lowly and the simplest of hearts. The simplicity of Bethlehem is enriched by her history and connection with David and the promises of God (Lk 2:1-14). It was unimaginable that the actual place of the birth of the King of kings would be a manger, scented with the stench of animals and their wastes. The Manger which housed animals became the first man-made home of God in human form. The shepherds who could easily relate with the Mystery at hand in simplicity and the simplicity of the Mystery (Lk 2:15-20), received the Good News from the angel and witnessed the chorus sang by the heavenly host; “glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy His favour.” The Good News is the fact that “the Word was made flesh, He lived among us, and we saw His glory, the glory that is His as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:1-18). To discover this glory, we must close our eyes to all of our sumptuous, magnificent and glamorous expectations and listen to and follow the instructions of the Angel to the shepherds; “today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Just like in the swaddling clothes, the whole life of Jesus Christ was wrapped in simplicity from beginning to the end. Unless one has the inner eyes to see beyond the swaddling clothes, one cannot encounter the glory of God in the Most Holy Child Jesus.
The joy of the celebration of the Solemnity of Christmas is complete only when are able to make the merits of His coming in human form bear fruits in us, the fruits of faith, hope, love, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and joy. This is possible only when we bring the Baby Jesus into our hearts and homes and villages and towns and cities and countries and world. To radiate the glory of the Baby Jesus, we must grow in the virtues of simplicity and humility. This is because God is simple and He makes Himself known in the simplest of ways and through the simplest of means and to the simple of heart; the simplicity that is seen in the manger that harboured the fullness of Divinity, in the simplicity and fragility of a new born Child. In simplicity, we “give up everything that does not lead to God” (Titus 2:11-14). It is only in simplicity of heart will “all the ends of the earth see the salvation of our God”, the Salvation that comes by no other means except in and through our Lord Jesus Christ the Emmanuel.
May the human birth of God our Saviour open our minds and hearts to recognise the manifestations of God in our midst in the simplest of ways; and growing in the virtue of simplicity, we may be beneficiaries and dispensers of the merits of the new born King; Amen. Happy Christmas; Fr Cyril CCE