Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization

"Catholic Prayers for the New Evangelization"

Check out the revised edition of this exciting and unique prayer book, filled with prayers that are sure to nourish the soul as we undertake the New Evangelization.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Homily Christmas 2007

Nolite timere.
Ecce enim evangelizo vobis gaudium magnum
quod erit omni populo.
Quia natus est vobis hodie salvator in civitate David
qui est Christus Dominus!

Fear not.
Behold, indeed I declare to tidings of great joy
which will be for all the people.
For today a savior has been born for you in the city of David,
Who is Christ the Lord!

The angels declared to the shepherds…and declare this day to us:
The day of salvation has dawned!

The savior promised by the prophets of old…
announced by the angels…
and longed-for by countless generations for ages past…
has appeared at last on earth!
The Word of God has become flesh!

The moment for which we have prepared by our celebration of Advent has arrived!
The one for whom our hearts have longed and yearned is at last here with us!

Our Savior is born for us this holy day…Jesus Christ has come!
He has come…and how has He come?

The answer lies in the third stanza of a hymn from the 9th Century…
“Creator of the Stars of Night.”

When this old world drew on toward night,you came; but not in splendor bright,not as a monarch, but the childof Mary, blameless mother mild.

Yes, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
our savior has not come as a monarch…in wealth, prestige, or finery.

Instead, the one who is King of the whole universe…
has come as a innocent…helpless…little baby.

The one whose voice…spoken in darkness…brought into being all that exists…
takes on flesh as an infant…
and will learn from His mother how to eat and speak and walk

This child is born in a poor, dirty stable…the home of animals…
filled with straw…and other things you find beneath animals…
no place for any child to sleep.

His first visitors are not dignitaries… but shepherds with their bleating sheep.
This King has no royal robe…but simply a swaddling cloth…
and His throne is a wooden box out of which cows and donkeys eat.
Jesus was born…the same as He lived and as He died…in poverty.

The angel declares: “A Savior has been born for you.”
Jesus the Savior has indeed been born for us…
and we are called to embrace Him as Mary did.

As Mary bore Jesus in her womb…and gave birth to Him…
so we are meant to carry Christ with us
to allow His love to grow and mature within us…
and give birth to His love and peace and truth in the holiness of our lives.

Jesus will find a welcome in our lives…
if we embrace Him just as He was first born into our world… in poverty.

Jesus desires to come to us humbly…simply…without pageantry
and without the unnecessary, burdensome trappings of this world.

Mary and Joseph did not need a Hummer 3 to get to Bethlehem.
A donkey sufficed.

The Holy Family did not need an i-phone or a 120” TV.
They entertained themselves by delighting in one another’s company.

The Magi found the stable without GPS.
The star God had ordained was accurate within inches.

We have so many gadgets, and so much noise, and far too many distractions
in our lives these days.
If you, like so many who are overloaded today,
find yourself burdened and yet unfulfilled…busy and yet unsatisfied…
then…this Christmas…embrace Christ in poverty.

Before you make your next impulse purchase and swipe the newest plastic…
ponder the question:
“How will this help Christ's love grow in me and be born in my life?”

Before you make the next big decision at work, as yourselves:
“How will this help me, my colleagues, and my family to live Christ's love?”

Each day, as the rubber hits the road in daily life…
allow your lives to be guided by the fundamental question:
“How will what I have done, what I am doing, and what I will do today
allow me to carry the love and truth of Christ to others?

Strip away all that is unnecessary, that distracts us from God, that is not holy.
Embrace Christ in poverty…
and allow Him to fill you with the riches of grace…
which cannot ever be measured.

Embrace the sweet infant Jesus in simplicity of life and humility of heart.
Carry Him with you everywhere, forever.
Allow His love to grow and mature within you
and to be born constantly in a life of goodness, selflessness, and truth.
Embrace Christ tonight with reckless abandon… love him without reserve…
give yourselves completely to Him…
and never allow anything less than the perfect love of Christ
to guide and guard you in this life.

Tonight, according to ancient tradition, we will direct special attention
to the words in the Creed which speak of the mystery we celebrate tonight.

At the words of Incarnation…
“…and He was born of the Virgin Mary and became man…”
we will all pause and genuflect together.
I will lead you by turning toward the Altar and genuflecting myself.
During the whole year, we all bow at these special words.
Tonight we genuflect because we celebrate this great mystery,
which is at the heart of our faith.

As you genuflect and rise, ponder the mystery we celebrate.
As you take leave of this holy place tonight…
forget not the lesson of this great feast of Christ's birth.
Embrace Christ in poverty and humility.
Let nothing separate you from His love.

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