Weekly Homily from Fr Jim Hogan, Christmas, December 25, 2015

•Isaiah 9: 2-7; Titus 3: 4-7; John 1: 1-14•

You will need to find the readings above the old-fashioned way, using your thumb and a bible.  These readings are not available on the USCCB website for me to provide you a link to click….Reyanna

Merry Christmas! Our mutual Christmas greeting is filled with implications about who we are.  Our thinking and living are shaped by Jesus, the Christ.  That is why our greeting is enthusiastic.

Several days ago, the Missoulian printed George Ochenski’s essay: “Peace on Earth–still a good idea in a gun-­‐loving nation.”  He noted the traditional Christmas theme — “Peace on Earth” has been replaced by “endless advertising to buy, buy, buy.”  In his column he shared what he observed in several sporting goods stores.  “People are buying,” he wrote, but “Peace on Earth?”  Forget it!  People are mimicking, “America’s expanding military footprint on the planet.”  People are buying — guns and bullets!!

Most of us sing of peace, wish others happiness, buy gifts and swim in a sea of nostalgia. Our Christmas nostalgia is good if it frees us to re-discover and reaffirm our deepest and truest truth.  I hope it does that for you.  Christmas nostalgia is like a bell ringing in your soul.  It calls us to that Gracious Mystery we name God in whom “we live and move and have our being.”  The Trappist monk Thomas Merton understood this.

“Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time.”

Our gospel text today is from the prologue of John’s gospel. The text is unique. “In the beginning was the Word!… the Word became flesh.” We listen to John and name “the Word” — Jesus.

The Word became flesh.”  Those four simple words affirm that the Gracious Mystery we name God is deeply enmeshed in the flesh of Jesus of Nazareth whose birth we celebrate.

For the first time in human history, the birth of Mary’s son and the impact of his life on our world opened us to profound mystery about ourselves.  God is incarnate in all human flesh just as in the son of Mary.  The implications are vast.  We are not isolated, separate human beings.  Deep down we are essentially one with all that is.  Some may call it divine being, or spirit, or God.  How or whatever we name it, our deepest reality is that we exist and live in God, and God in us, all of us!!  “The Word became flesh.”

Many of us are authentically “Christian” and recognize the contradiction highlighted in George Ochenski’s essay.  As the misery of the world cries to heaven, the politics and policies of the United States of America deny the gospel.  Our nation wastes billions for bullets and guns to kill our “enemies” while most citizens claim to be Christian people.  Our situation is self-perpetuating.  Most of us rely on cable news for our current information.  We think that what we see is actually what is.  We think we see the world, but we don’t!  When 911 occurred, we were saturated with images of violence.  We saw nothing about the goodness, hospitality and love of the people of Greenland.  The result is illusion!  While many self-proclaimed “Christians”  barely know the gospel, they claim to know what Islam is.  “They say, Islam is evil; it is hateful.”  Then they celebrate Christmas with decorated trees, the carols, the presents and the family gatherings.

The sea of Christmas nostalgia in which we swim is wonderful.  Our richly human symbols, even Santa, Frosty and Rudolph can do us a great service.  These symbols arouse good feelings, joy, and a sense of being connected to self, to family, to friends and to strangers.  Even to people of Islam.  We treasure all the symbolism because in a place beyond our ability to articulate, we experience in them our deepest truth as human beings.  They awaken us to the spark of divinity within us.  On an intuitive level we know “the Word become flesh” as our own deepest truth.  Celebrate Christmas! Recognize and reaffirm your deepest truth – Christ!!

“Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time.”

Merry Christmas!!

This entry was posted in Hogan's Homilies. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *