Homily for Christmas, Midnight Mass, Cycle B - 2017

posted Jan 2, 2018, 11:52 AM by Church Office   [ updated Jan 2, 2018, 11:52 AM by Michelle Massung ]

            Merry Christmas and on behalf the entire parish family here at the Ss. Peter and Paul, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and blessed New Year.

            I don't know about you, but I really like all the preparations that go into getting ready for Christmas, especially the Christmas carols on the radio. However my message to you is this, don't be like a radio station, yes don't be like a radio station. Let me explain in more detail.  It starts sometime in mid-November;  the radio stations start easing into playing Christmas carols and then just after Thanksgiving, some stations play nothing but Christmas songs. We hear the angels harking, the drummer boy drumming, the chestnuts roasting, the dogs barking jingle bells, the call to go shout it from the mountain, the dream of a white Christmas, or trying to get home for Christmas, and then we sing Joy to the World on Christmas, and the next day we have a silent night; no more Christmas carols. No more grandma's getting run over by a reindeer, no more Santa's kissing mama, no more need for two front teeth, no more jingle bells. All we have left to look forward to is the coming of the three wise men. My message is simple don't be like the radio stations and shut off Christmas so soon.

            Like I said earlier I like all the preparations for Christmas, putting up decorations, sending Christmas cards, buying presents, going to dinners and parties, traveling back to Philly to spend time with my family, and celebrating mass here at the Cathedral especially since it is completely full. I also enjoy helping those in need by visiting the hospitals, visiting the nursing homes, and helping those in need. Why do I enjoy it so much? Because of all the love. Think about it, don't we send out Christmas cards so that we can express our love for others in our lives?  Don't we buy presents to express our love and gratitude for others in our lives? Don't we invite others over for dinner or to a party because we want to spend time with those we care about and share in the fellowship of eating and drinking together? It is all about love. Don't we help those in need because we feel blessed by God's bounty in our lives and want to share that with others? Why, because of love. Why are we here this evening? Why did we come to mass?  We are here to joyfully celebrate the birth of Jesus. But why was Jesus sent here to earth and why was he even born? He had to be born to show us that he is fully human. He came to earth as one of us, as a man.  Mankind was the one that sinned when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and God knew he had to save mankind in the same form, by a human. So why did God send his son and not another human? Because God sending his son was the greatest act of love ever in the history of mankind. God became man and came to this world as a humble tiny baby and to eventually suffer and die for our sake and for our salvation. So why are we so joyful today? My belief is because of all the love that we are sharing today; that is, the love we express towards each other and towards God here at mass.  With all this love in the air, it is hard not to be joyful.

            Wouldn't it be great if we could feel that same joy all year round? Wouldn't our world be better if we were this loving, compassionate, and considerate all year long? Well we can be. In 1 John, Chapter 4, we hear that God is love.  In the Gospels, Jesus tells us we are all called to love God and to love our new neighbor. If we do this we will receive the joy and peace of Christ in our lives. Well today is proof that what Jesus says is true; we are more joyful because we are loving God more and our neighbor more than any other day of the year.

            So how do we keep this feeling of joy in peace and our lives long after Christmas is over, the tree taken down, the decorations put away, and the presents stored away? We need to continue to express our love for others on a consistent basis. I am not saying you need to go out and get presents, or send cards all year long. What I am asking you to do is to give everyone the gift of kindness, the present of a smile, a complement rather than being judgmental or gossiping, give the gift of patience and consideration rather than always being so demanding and insisting on what you need now. If we think of others’ needs rather than our needs and wants, and try to make others feel better for being a part of our lives, then we will experience the joy and peace in our lives that Christ promises us and that we are experiencing today. Again it doesn't take much, just invite Jesus into your hearts today and keep him there by being more loving and kind to others. If you want to keep them there forever, talk to him more often, make him your friend. In this way his love will fill your heart now and forever. Sure I would greatly appreciate for all of you to be back next week and every week of the year. However if you just try and bring a little joy to others during each day, you will be given that same feeling of joy in your life that you are experiencing today. We have spent so much time and effort preparing for his coming, now we need to not let him go away after Christmas is over. It would be such a shame to spend all that time and effort getting ready for Christmas, and then just let Christmas fade away until next year. Let us make a concerted effort to extend the joy we have in our hearts today for a longer period of time throughout the year by being kinder to others, by spreading our love to others more consistently throughout the year, by becoming friends with Jesus and by helping others in need. Christmas is a special time of year yet is up to us to keep it going long into the New Year. Don't be like a radio station and shut off Christmas tomorrow rather extend the joy and peace you feel today long into the New Year. In this way you will truly experience the gift of Christ coming to earth and Christ coming into your life. He will give you the joy and peace we so all desperately want. Again Merry Christmas to all of you and may you have a blessed and joyful new year.