Theme: Sign of God’s love for us
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Saturday December 25 2021
Love is no fable! Love is no fiction! Love is who God is and what He does! On the face of the Most Holy Child Jesus we behold the beautiful glance of God’s love for us! Love is who God wants us to be in the world and what He wishes us to do towards our brothers and sisters. Love explains the unfolding of God’s relationship with humanity in the History of Salvation. Love brings us to understand the mercy of God, God’s care for all His creatures and the jealousy of God over us. With the spectacles of Love, it begins to make meaning to us about God’s tirelessness of reaching out to us and devising many ways to convince us to freely and positively respond to His love. May God’s love be born afresh in our hearts and in the world; Amen.
The Birth of Christ in human form is the clearest sign of God’s love for us. In the Manger at Bethlehem, God became man for our sake and for the sake of our salvation. The Mystery of the Incarnation is the reason for the solemn and joyful feast of this day. The readings of the four Masses of the Feast of Christmas (Vigil Mass, Midnight Mass, Mass at Dawn and Mass during the Day) bring us to reflect on the actual occurrence of this historical and salvific event, and its perennial significance and merits in the lives of all those who believe. The Gospel of Matthew (Mt 1:1-25) meticulously traced the human and ancestral roots of Jesus through Joseph His foster Father. Jesus’ ancestry is truly human in every respect. However, His birth will rewrite not just the human story of his biological ancestry but that of the whole of humanity; offering it a definite divine touch. In Jesus Christ, the human race that was disjointed from its divine roots through the failure of our first parents became reconnected to God in an everlasting manner. Only Love makes this possible! This is the love that God has shown us in the face of His only Begotten Son. Love builds bridges and mends broken human emotional, spiritual, material, psychological and historical pieces. The Gospel of Luke (Lk 2:1-14) recounts this ultimate display of love by God that Mary “gave birth to a Son, her first born… Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” The News of Christ’s birth changes everything and invites all of us to hurry to Bethlehem to have a special encounter with the new born King. Like the shepherds, we are invited to say to ourselves, “let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us” (Lk 2:15-2). Our visit to Bethlehem changes our perspectives about life and re-orients us towards God the Sun of Justice and the Light of the world. Our visit to Bethlehem leads us to encounter the divine in an absolutely perceptible and tangible form. Our visit to Bethlehem is a moment of profession of faith in the mystery of the Christmas Feast; namely that “the Word was made flesh, He lived among us, and we saw His glory” (John 1:1-18). Our sighting of God’s glory directs us through the path of glorification by God, who is so generous and loving that He offers Himself to us. This is what our true and sincere celebration of Christmas does to us. Christmas reminds us of and restores us in the path to glory!
With the birth of Christ, our story has changed forever. Through the mystery of the Incarnation, we are reborn and redeemed in God’s love, transformed into God’s Holy People (Is 62:11-12). With the appearance of God in human form, we have progressed towards God’s design for us; we are no longer forsaken or abandoned. Rather, we have become the delight of God (Is 62:1-5). With the light rays from the Manger where the Sun of Justice was born, we are no longer dwelling in darkness. On the contrary, the great Light has shown upon us and we have become illumined and enlightened (Is 9:1-7). At Bethlehem, we encounter the fulfilment of all the prophecies of old which for us is the greatest source of joy. Beyond speaking to us through prophets and oracles, with the Incarnation of Christ, God speaks to us of Himself by Himself (Heb 1:1-6). This is the reason behind the profound joyful mood of the Christmas Season; “for the Lord is consoling His people… all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Is 52:7-10). Today, we celebrate God’s consolation in our midst in the Baby Jesus! We are jubilant because our salvation is right before us in a manner that is very simple and accessible. It is simple and accessible because it is the fruit of God’s infinite and eternal love. Love is by nature very simple! Love makes accessibility possible, towards God and towards fellow human beings. Love breeds love! Hence, the proper response for love received is to give love. Christmas is fundamentally a love feast! It is a Season of love that inspires us to live in love all through our lives’ span and to dwell in love in eternity. To celebrate Christmas without showing love to people in very simple and uncomplicated ways is to empty the Christmas Feast of its meaning and significance. Love people and show them you love them through means that are within your reach and limitations. Remember to show love to those people who are very close to you. Sometimes we take this for granted! Ordinarily, those closest to us are those who suffer for us and endure us the most. Never take these acts of love they show you for granted and try to reciprocate. Above all, remember that God has shown us the greatest love and we are obliged to love Him in return through words and actions; through doing good and avoiding evil.
Lord, as we celebrate this Festival of Your love for us in the Incarnation and Human Birth of Christ Your Son, may we assimilate the great lessons You teach us through the simplicity of Your ways and the ascendance to glory You offer us through the infinite mystery of Your Being and love for us; Amen. Happy Christmas to you; Fr Cyril CCE