SUNDAY HOMILY: OUR LONG–AWAITED MESSIAH IS HERE WITH US!
1st Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7; 52: 7-10; 2nd Readings: Titus 2:11-24; Hebrews 1:1-6; Gospels: Luke 2:1-14; John 1:1-18.
Life can be meaningful and enjoyable when, after experiencing a long period of suffering, one’s hopeful expectation of relief comes to fruition. For instance, many women undergo terrible painful experiences during pregnancy, especially during delivery (pangs of birth) when they usually cry uncontrollably but are always hopeful for a sign of relief. This relief occurs as soon as they hear the cry of their child; only then, would their tears metamorphose into joy. The scripture says, “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).”
Meanwhile, through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the relationship between divinity and humanity was marred; humanity became wounded, and her source of life, which accrued from the divine, was truncated. Consequently, sickness, suffering, and death entered into the world, and humanity wallowed in darkness.
However, due to God’s love for humanity, and in order to restore humanity back to her original state, He continued to send His prophets so as to bridge the gap that separated humanity from Him, but all their efforts could not salvage or restore humanity’s fall. Thus, God promised to send a Messiah into the world to redeem humanity.
In the First Reading, Prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of that Messiah: “For to us a child is born…, and His name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ (Isaiah 9:6).” He gave hope to the Israelites who were passing through excruciating experiences while in exile. That those who had been suffering or walking in darkness for a long time as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve, have now been illuminated and salvaged. This good news of Salvation, which was not yet fulfilled as at that time, brought immense joy and happiness to the Israelites as they longed to see the Messiah.
Consequently, in the fullness of time, God sent His only begotten Son – Jesus Christ (divine light) to redeem humanity from darkness. Through the Power of the Holy Spirit eternity is born in time (aeternitas in tempore nascitur); the infinite, becomes finite, and the omnipotent becomes a weak child. God took the form of a slave, became man, and born of the Virgin Mary in a manger, and dwelt among us. Hence, through the incarnation, a marriage between humanity and divinity is established. This is the greatest, mightiest, and most far-reaching event which ever took place in human history.
Joyously, after awaiting from the First Sunday Homily of Advent to the Fourth Sunday Homily of Advent, today being Christmas, we commemorate such a great/ wondrous event: The Infinite Mercy and Unconditional Love of God. For God so loved the world and gave His divine Son (Jesus Christ) as a precious gift to humanity, so that, the self-giving of God may be the model and motive of all our gifts to others, especially the gift of oneself (John. 3:16). His birth brings Good News to the poor, healing for the broken-hearted, deliverance to the captives, sight to the blind, liberty to prisoners, and favor to all (Luke 4:18-19). This calls for exultant praise and gratitude to God Almighty (Psalm 136:1-4).
Since the Birth of Jesus Christ has brought divine love, joy, peace, and happiness into our lives, and shared stupendous blessings which no human can give us, then how do we reciprocate this act of Unconditional Love of God for us?
In the Second Reading, St. Paul urges us to renounce irreligious attitudes, such as worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world. These can concretely be actualized when we extend the Peace, Joy, and Love of Christ to others. For Love invites a return of love.
Finally, in this Sunday Homily, as we welcome our Redeemer – “the Light of the World” (John 8:12) into our hearts this Christmas, let us not be talking about love only, rather we should endeavor to;
”DO” the Following:
- To search for those that are eking for life and put smiles on their faces, especially this Yuletide and beyond, through our kindness and generosity.
- To render assistance to those looking for job opportunities; we may offer them jobs if we can, or give them connections if we know any.
- To take our prayer seriously again, and approach the Lord’s forgiveness by going to confession (Sacrament of reconciliation).
- To reconcile with those that have hurt us in one way or the other, and to apologize to those we might have offended.
- To ensure that justice, equity, tolerance, and fairness thrive in our homes and society.
- To call a lonely person we know on the phone.
- To visit the elderly or sick persons.
I pray that, through the Power of the Holy Spirit, you and your family may be liberated from the forces of darkness, and may the Joy, Peace, and Prosperity of the New Born King envelope you and your entire family, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp