A HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF CHRISTMAS – CYCLE “C” – 12/25/15 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
A few weeks ago, I was very blessed with the opportunity to have dinner with friends of mine that I hadn’t been able to get together with for quite a while. I went over to their house for supper and it was a really fun evening. The Mom made the best chili, and while it hasn’t exactly been chili weather this year, it tasted so good. We had grilled cheese sandwiches with the chili, and warm chocolate chip cookies for dessert. It was yummy! All their kids were all home, so after dinner we visited, and looked at pictures, and we even played that game Pictionary, after we ate, until late into the evening. And it was such a great evening. It was really nice to catch up with all of them. I had an awesome time. And as I drove back to St. Maria Goretti, I felt such great peace. I was truly grateful for my friends and for the wonderful evening that we were able to spend together. But it was more than that! I was so happy for my friends. They are very blessed. As a couple, and along with each one of their children, they are very involved in our Faith and our Church, are doing great things for the Lord. They are where they are supposed to be. I am trying to do, every day, what God wants me to do. Everybody is busy. Everybody is doing God’s work. And with every day, each one of us is becoming the person that God created us to be. And that does lead to the deepest kind of peace. When you are where you are supposed to be with God, you have an incredible, deep peace and gratitude. It makes everything else pale by comparison.
I mention this story and that peace to you, on this great Feast of Christmas, because if you noticed, at the end of the Gospel, the great multitude of angels said, “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace, peace to those on whom His favor rests.” This Baby, Whose birthday we celebrate today, is supposed to give us great peace while we live in this world. We are the ones on whom His favor rests. This Gospel is talking about Good News for all of us! And that Good News is peace!
I wanted to talk about this today because we don’t talk about God’s peace nearly enough today as Church. And we’ve got a problem. A lot of Christians, including a lot of Catholic Christians, don’t understand this. God’s peace is “assumed” in so many ways. Let me be very clear about this: the number one reason to have Faith, the number one reason to know and love this Jesus Christ, the number one reason to practice Catholic Christianity in the world today, IS God’s incredible, all-encompassing peace! What’s the great gift that God is giving to each and every one of us this Christmas in His Son? It’s peace! God’s peace is the very best reason to be a Christian. God give us His peace forever. Yes, we look forward to the fullness of that peace in Heaven. But the great surprise about God’s peace, is that you can have it right now! God’s peace is our little taste of Heaven to help us get through the craziness of this world! You are not going to get this peace from anywhere else! Drugs and alcohol and food won’t do it. Although, warm chocolate chip cookies can come pretty close. No, I’m kidding. Popularity and fame won’t do it. All the money and wealth in the world won’t give you that kind of peace.
That peace from God, and from true Faith, and that we share together in the Church, that deep peace on the inside, in our hearts and souls, will get you through anything! How and why do you think that the martyrs of the Church were able to give their lives? They laid down their lives willing, because they knew that the truth was that they couldn’t live their lives in this world, WITHOUT God’s peace. That’s the way that it works. Once you taste God’s peace, once you experience the deep and profound sense of calm and understanding, you know, you know that you can’t live without it.
This is exactly what so many in the world today don’t understand about Christianity. Christianity is looking more and more foreign to our world. Believe it or not, that’s probably a good thing. But if we are failing to communicate that peace, if we aren’t living that peace out in our lives, if we ourselves don’t have that peace on the inside so that we can face anything on the outside, then shame on us, then we are not living out our Christian Faith the way that we are supposed to. Faith leads to Peace. Peace leads to love. Love leads to service. Service leads to an increase in Faith, Hope, and Love. Why should any one care that a baby was born in Bethlehem two-thousand years ago? It is because the peace that Baby offers, even all these years later, will change your life and make it oh so much better!
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Like the angels at that first Christmas, may we proclaim His peace to our world today. You know, and I know, the world is NOT such a peaceful place. 2015 wasn’t such a peaceful year, and 2016 isn’t shaping up to be much more peaceful. We’re not going to find peace on TV, or on the internet, or in getting more money. This baby, this Jesus, gives us true peace! Let us rejoice in that today!
From Fr. Travis and myself, Deacon Steve, our seminarians Will and Joe, and our entire Parish and School staffs, we wish each of you a blessed and Merry Christmas!
+ May God bless all of us on this great Feast Day! Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!