Homily – December 25, 2016

On the feast of Christmas we celebrate and hopefully open our lives to a great wonder. We celebrate the birth of a innocent, helpless child, God’s eternal Son who embraces our humanity, becoming as we all are and through his life shared in the joys and the sorrows that are the reality of all our lives. He knew the harshness of poverty, he earned his bread by the sweat of his brow. He knew the love and support of friends, he knew the deep hurt of those same friends betraying and denying him. He would die the humiliating death of crucifixion. This child whose birth we celebrate would spend his life telling people in his time and in ours that they are loved by God, embraced by God no matter what their faults and failings may be. God’s eternal Son would give us all a new commandment ‘ Love one another as I have loved you.’ His love for us was proven when his died on the cross for each of us. We are called to live out his challenge to us to love as we’ve been loved.

I’d like to offer another dimension to this feast we are celebrating. The birth of the Christ Child.

Our parish motto is, belonging, believing and becoming. We all want to belong, we want to be accepted by others, supported and loved by others, forgiven by someone else. It is not good to be alone. To believe that we are alone and unloved is an unbearable pain. Today’s feast tells us that we belong, belong to God in a very special way. And God belongs to us.

Jesus took to himself our humanity, in what we call the Incarnation. Jesus is like us in all things but he did not sin and he invites us to share in his divinity. Before the world began God chose us, in Christ, to be his adopted sons and daughters. Christmas tells us Jesus belongs to us and we belong to him.

We belong to the human family, a family that is showing the worst of itself these days with the devastating wars that plague our times, especially in Syria. At the same time we are a family that is showing the best of itself as we reach out to our suffering brothers and sisters and welcome them to Canada.

We belong to the family of the church, the body of Christ. Christ is the head of this body and we are its members and no one member can say to the other,’ I have no need of you’. We belong to one another as the different members of the body belong to one another. As each of us tries to be faithful to the example and teachings of Jesus we build up the body of Christ, because we belong we do what we can to maintain the holiness of the church.

If we belong then all others belong, no one is to be excluded. That’s why racism and bigotry – which has recently raised its ugly in the city – and the exclusion of other people is a sin against this feast – this feast in which we welcome Jesus into our human family just as Jesus welcomes us into the divine family. No matter what our color or creed or any other difference – we belong to one another.

We belong to the family of life, the web of life that permeates planet Earth. That’s why the careless and greedy exploitation of Earth’s limited resources, our consumerism, our pollution of lands, air and water, all these are sins against this feast. We did not weave the web of life we are stands in the web and what we do to the web we do to ourselves and we deny our belonging. We are not the Lords of creation we are emeshed in creation.

Think of Christmas as the great feast of belonging – Jesus belongs to us, he is one with us in our human family – thru Jesus God chose us to be God’s sons and daughters – as we belong to God in Jesus can we make every effort to make all those who come into our lives welcome and accepted? This can be our Christmas challenge.