December 25, 2019

A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF CHRISTMAS –  CYCLE “A” –  12/25/19 –  SMG

+  Pax et Bonum!   Peace and goodness to you this day!

Last week, I was driving around Westfield, and I was on my final Christmas shopping trip.  I had just three more people to get gifts for, and I was bound and determined that I was going to find just the right gift for each of them!  And as I drove from store to store, I had the radio on in my car.  It was still Advent, so it was too early to listen to Christmas music, so I had my favorite classic rock station on.  And as you guys know, I’m not much of a singer.  I’ll sing at Mass, because all of us, are supposed to sing at Mass.  And I can’t ask you to do something that I’m not willing to do.  But I’m not a good singer.  I sing a lot like a moose.  But when I’m in the car, or I should say, when I’m ALONE in the car, I become transformed, into the lead singer for every Rock band that I know.  And so, I’m driving around, and I’m belting out “Dream On”, by Aerosmith, and “Oh Sherrie” by Steve Perry of Journey, and “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel, all my favorite classic hits, occasionally the music would get interrupted by commercials.  And in a period of one hour, I heard a commercial for Arby’s, “We have the Meats”.  And I love that commercial.  First of all, the guy saying it, sounds like James Earl Jones, or someone like him.  It’s so commanding, “We have the Meats!”  Secondly, just like a good song, the catch phrase stays with you, after you hear it.  So, pretty soon, I’m driving around, and I find myself, just saying, over and over, “We have the Meats!”.  “We have the Meats!”  So it gets to be around 12:30 PM, or 12:45 PM, and it’s time for lunch.  Where do you think I’m stop and get something to eat for lunch?  Where do you think?  Arby’s, right?   No, I went to Chick-Fil-A!   Because they have the chicken.  No, I’m kidding, the line at Chick-Fil-A’s is always too long!  Besides, Arby’s paid for all that music that I was listening to, I had to go to Arby’s.  Because, “They have the Meats!”  Just kinda makes you want a roast beef sandwich, doesn’t it?

And then I got to thinking, you know, the Church needs a good tag line like that.  Hang with me, here, I am eventually going to get around to Christmas!  The Church needs a great catch phrase like “We have the Meats!”  I think, that at the end of everything that we do, as Catholic Christians, we should end everything, with “We have the Lord!”  Or, “We have the Eucharist!”, Or, “We have the Body of Christ!”  That’s a whole lot more powerful than “We have the Meats!”  Who cares about roast beef?  We have Jesus Christ!  Let’s see Arby’s compete with that!+

And that, my dear brothers and sisters, is what we are celebrating today!  Our God, came down from Heaven, some two-thousand years ago, and became man.  Starting in that stable in Bethlehem, “We do have the Lord” with us!  The Church receives our Savior in a manger in Bethlehem.  And from that moment on, we have been able to say, “We have the Lord!”  That gift of the Lord, God choosing to come down and save His people, changed everything two-thousand years ago.  Suddenly God wasn’t far away.  God was concerned for His people, and God showed it by being born of a virgin in a stable, with angels singing!  From that moment on, we have “We have the Lord!”  The Church has a very unique claim that nobody else can make.  Kinda like Arby’s and the meats!  We have a God that has been with us for almost two thousand years!

Other organizations and entities, may have better art, or better music, or better architecture, but we have something much, much better!  This Baby, born on what we call Christmas, has been with us ever since, through His Holy Spirit, and through the Sacraments, and through His Holy Church, but most expressly with us, through the Holy Eucharist.  He is a Gift unlike anything else that we can even begin to imagine!   What we receive when we come to Mass, is the power and the strength that we need to live in this crazy world of ours.  We need to see that.  All of us do!  And we need to recognize that what happened in that stable, leads us to a direct connection to what happened at the Last Supper, 30 to 33 later!  And that that leads to, what happens at every Mass, offered everywhere, down through time!   My brothers and sisters, this is amazing stuff!  “We do have the Lord!”  “We do have the Body of Christ”.   And He is the answer to all our wants, all our desires, all our needs, and all our concerns forever.  God fixed things that night two thousand years ago, with a Baby.   And God continues to fix things at every Mass that’s offered, on every Altar, with the Holy Eucharist!   There’s a very powerful connection that we must see!   You want to fix our world?   You want to fix your life?   You want the secret to living a full and happy life?   “We have the Lord!”  Come to Church!  Come to Mass!  Come every week.  Gee, come every day!  This Jesus will change you.  This Jesus will change us.  If we let Him, if we give Him the chance, we have been given something very special!   He is what we most need!  He should be what we seek, not another sandwich!

Today, we give thanks to God for the Mystery of the Incarnation.   We don’t know why God chose to love us so much, to be born in that stable, but today and every day we are grateful that He did.   And we don’t fully understand how and why God remains with us in the Holy Eucharist, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  But He does!  And it too is a mystery!  And It’s a good mystery!  And we give thanks to God for It also!

“We have the Lord God!”  There’s only one place you can find the Lord, and the Mass, and the Holy Eucharist!   And it ain’t Arby’s!

Let us enjoy together this blessing of the greatest Gift ever!  We have the Lord!  Let us rejoice and be glad!   And let us take the good news to others, as the angels did!

From all of us here at St. Maria Goretti, Fr. Mike, Fr. Aaron, Deacon Steve, our entire Parish and School staff, and our entire Parish family, may you have a Blessed and Merry Christmas!    And May God bless you +  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                                AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…  Pray for us !!!