Homily for Christmas Eve 2022 by Fr. Joe Tedesco
Merry Christmas Everyone! Christmas is really great day, we all get gifts. It’s fun to receive one and to give one. Monks, of course, have the challenge with that. The gifts we give are spiritual ones, we pray for you. The monastery sends out our fruit cakes to our families. And we send cards. And the gifts most of us, receive are from God.
How much God loves us. God gives us the greatest gift ever, Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord.
And we receive this gift at Baptism when we were Christened. And it’s there, at our baptism that we receive the mission to continue the Incarnation, to become Christ for others. To bring Christ to the world. Christmas every year celebrates Christ coming again. And the way God gives us his Son, is such a powerful recognition of our needs. His son comes like one of us. Fragile, dependent, needy, a baby who needs love and tenderness, who needs to be held and cared for.
So, what we see clearly is who our God is – a God of love, a God attentive to us, a God who wants to let us know we are held and cared for – we are loved. God wants us to see how we can navigate the challenges of our life and of our world by looking at how his Son Jesus, our Christ, manages his human experience. His own vulnerability.
Our newborn King inspires us by walking the way of weakness, of humility, of utter dependence on Mary and Joseph. We have that dependence on God, because we know our God, our loving God.
So, we embrace our fragility, and surrender ourselves to God with boundless confidence and trust. In doing so, we acknowledge that the way forward is to touch in the silence of our hearts the reality of God ‘s love and life. This moves us to let go of all that gets in the way of peace. So, we dwell with God in Christ who is always with us.
God gives us this powerful message – life is to be lived full of dignity, with justice, God is within us. We share in His very life and love. Yes, it’s hidden but uncovered through Jesus – he shows us how to live it, touch this life of God within. Love unconditionally. Just like Jesus. And then as believers, we reveal Christ ‘s love to the world.
Right there, we carry on the Incarnation of God. We are living Christ’s values, his attitudes toward others. Embracing the life of Jesus in every way. This is the mystery and grace of our lives.
We have as our models, the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, the Shepherds, who all witnessed this moment of Emmanuel. They all trusted the message of the angels and responded with
confidence in God. So, their story comes down to us. And they have evangelized us. We now believe and live the Incarnation of Christ.
We know the reality of a baby’s birth. Pope Francis says the birth of a child is something extraordinary and changes everything. It brings an excitement that makes parents think nothing of weariness, discomfort and sleepless nights. Because the baby fills them with a great incomparable happiness.
I remember when my twin brother became a grandfather for the first time – he now has 7 grandchildren. That first baby boy transformed him – I saw a different person behold that baby. I said to myself what happened to him. Well, it’s new life, the next generation, part of him. And right then, he turned to me and said, I just love that little guy.
That’s what Christmas stirs in us. New life, a future, even more, eternal life with this Jesus. All our hope, all our joy, because we have faith in Jesus, because we have come to know him. and believe in him and seek to live him in our own lives.
And more: Jesus’ birth enables us to be reborn in faith each year and to find in him the strength needed to face the trials and challenges of our world today. This all happens because his birth is for us, for all of us, for everyone. And we have had him within us since the beginning. The very life and power of our Trinity God, Father, Son and Spirit came to us at Baptism. Christmas reminds us that we can live this full life with God in Jesus.
God has given us this gift – that keeps on giving – because we need the reminder that yes, I am loved, God is with us. Jesus came to save us, to bring us this good news. And to show us the way forward. And oh, my gosh, do we need a way forward. Jesus is always the way forward. Why do so many forget that?
And in a few moments, we will offer sacrifice that brings Christ, our redeemer to us.
Here he shows us the way forward, unconditional love, that total giving of self to God for our salvation. We have the great gift of entering into this mystery. And every time we offer this sacrifice the Angel sing Glory to God in the Highest. All are one again in Christ Jesus.
We now have this moment – Christmas of 2022 –a special moment – in touch with our need and hope – to tell us again, that we are called to new life in Christ, A new way of being, a life in God is possible at the deepest level. God desires this life with us. All I can say is – Thank God it’s Christmas.
This moment of peace, of hope and of joy for our tomorrows. And it begins with us here, who seek to live Christ day by day. Let’s celebrate and live Jesus now.
Merry Christmas everyone!