Father Jeff Fleming’s Christmas Homily

Father Jeff Fleming is the pastor of Christ the King Parish, the parish that Jim and I call home here in Missoula.  Father Jeff gave this homily at all of the liturgies this Christmas so many of you may have heard it in person.  He has generously given me permission to publish it here on our site.  We are very grateful for his pastoral presence among us and for his genuinely welcoming spirit at Christ the King. – Rosemary

Christmas 2012   Christ the King Parish

There was no room for Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem in those days. They could not find welcome.

Fr. JeffEven though the church is full tonight, there is always room for more and all are welcome. Christ came to remind us that our God is love and that each and everyone one of us is loved. We are loved. We are loved.  As Jesus welcomes all, we are the church and as church, we must do the same; we are to be God’s love to one another.

Think of those who gather around that manger: Shepherds from the fields to three kings to each one of us, to you.

So who are you?

Are you divorced?
Are you married with kids, worrying for them and committed to their welfare?
Are you married for the 2nd, 3rd or more times?
Are you a single parent, struggling to make things work?
Are you gay or lesbian?

Well, if you are, you belong with us, because you belong to Christ and together we are the church. You are welcome here!

Are you lonely?
Are you uncertain why you even came to church today?
Do you feel lost?
Are you disabled or disfigured?
Have you run out ofluck?
Are you living with shame in your life?
Are you widowed?

Well, if you are, you belong with us, because you belong to Christ and together we are the church. You are welcome here!

Are you a new comer to this parish?
Maybe you are an immigrant?
Are you full of doubts, like st. Thomas?
Has it been awhile since you have darkened the doorway of a church?
Do you feel unwelcome in the Church?
Have you just “drifted away?”
Are you a regular here, and continue to struggle with where faith ‘fits’ in your life or are you full of faith and enthusiastic about your faith?

Well, if you are, you belong with us, because you belong to Christ and together we are the church. You are welcome here!

Are you in your advanced years; fearing the future?
Are you middle aged and seeking meaning?
Are you a young adult wondering where or even if you fit in the church or even if religion matters today?
Are you a high school student, trying to make sense of the faith of your parents, looking for a place to belong?
Are you in your in middle school or grade school looking for friends?

Well, if you are, you belong with us, because you belong to Christ and together we are the church. You are welcome here!

If you didn’t hear yourself mentioned, you too are welcome. Help us to understand who you are in our community. We want to get to know you.

You belong with us, because you belong to Christ. And together we are the church. You are welcome here!

Look around you. The Body of Christ, the church, has come to the manger today. Sinners are always welcome here; saints too. All are welcome. All are welcome to come to Christ. All are welcome in this place.

Let me end with a more personal thought on this Christmas. Bethlehem was full that night. There was no room for Christ. How full is your heart? In the midst of Christmas busyness, stress or loneliness, can you prepare a place for him? Can you make room for Jesus in your heart and let him dwell there? Is there room, because Jesus very much wants to stay!

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6 Responses to Father Jeff Fleming’s Christmas Homily

  1. rhosie says:

    The following comment was shared on Catholica where I posted a link to Fr. Jeff’s homily.

    How beautiful is this Homly there should be more of this said to the people, why are they not talking like this in every Church, every Mass? something said like this makes me feel that i am worth everything to Jesus as one of his Children here on earth.

    Macbee

  2. rhosie says:

    Another comment shared on Catholica about Fr. Jeff’s homily.

    Subject: Jeff Fleming’s homily
    Rosemary, that homily you posted from Fr Jeff Fleming is so welcome. How wonderful to have a priest welcome everyone to the manger, to name all the everyones he can think of and to invite those not named to consider themselves welcome also. God’s love is abroad in so many places, and that is so easy for us to forget as they plough through the dross, the scandal etc.

  3. Gary Hughes says:

    As I sat in Christ the King with every member of my family and began to hear Father Jeff’s Homily I was at first stunned. Then I was pleased and proud that this young pastor at CTK was welcoming all! The church was jammed with people who rarely attend liturgy. I can’t imagine what they thought when they heard Father Jeff’s words enter their ears, minds and hearts. ALL ARE WELCOME IN THIS PLACE is also part of the CTK website. I sincerely appreciate the courage it took to contemplate, write and preach this wonderful Christmas Homily! Thank you Father Jeff and I wish you great love and peace, Gary Hughes

  4. Erin Pascal says:

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful homily!
    This line resonated within me, “Christ came to remind us that our God is love and that each and everyone one of us is loved.” Although I understand that it is the responsibility of church leaders to remind the people of their Christian duties and the virtues of Christ, I believe that is equally important to make them understand that God’s is always ready to forgive and welcome His children home.

  5. I think he’s got it!
    This Homily speaks the message and life of Jesus.
    He was totally inclusive driving the hierarchy of His time (and ours) crazy.
    Let’s all LIVE this homily.
    Love,
    John

  6. What courage to preach the reality of the Gospel in this simple and clear way. The more I get to know Fr. Jeff the more I am inspired by his example of priestly discipleship. Thanks for sharing this Rosemary.

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