HOMILY FOR CHRISTMAS VIGIL/CHRISTMAS DAY

Fr Roger O'Neill, Gorey



Today the Christ candle of the Advent Wreath proclaims, Jesus - God-with-us!

This is such a profound reality that we need help to try and absorb it. Saying the words is not enough - we need actions to help communicate this Divine and human reality. That is why when we profess the Creed – the Faith – at this Mass we all kneel (or bow) at the words “and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate”.

Christmas is about family; we experience this in the greetings and meetings of our own families and friends. This is a very important aspect of Christmas for it points to the true and deeper meaning.

The mystery of Christmas is the infant Jesus, God made flesh. The union of the Divine family and the Human family in a humble little baby, born in obscurity and laid in a manger.

Such a nostalgic image for us as we look at the Nativity or contemplate it. It brings the joyful memories of the announcement of new-born babies into our own families and because of our own family experience we can more easily connect with the Christmas story. This is good, because God wants to draw us all into his family through his Son, Jesus.

The family nature of Christmas can also bring emotional memories and stir the mists of grief for us who have lost family and friends from this world. Yet in Christmas we find Hope.

Can I ask you to look a little closer at the Crib, there is something very significant about where the infant Jesus is laid – in the manger!

A manger is the place of food for the animals, there is no nostalgia here! This is a prophetic sign, Jesus offering himself for us, “This is by Body… This is my Blood… take and eat”.

A sign of Sacrifice!

He is the Holy Communion between God and humanity. He is the spiritual nourishment for our soul. “That man might live for evermore because of Christmas Day”.

He is calling you into that Communion, into a closer and deeper relationship with him, that you may receive the gift that he freely offers you. Eternal Life!

Freely offered, but not cheap, it had been paid for with the highest price! His Life!

Jesus is offering us the greatest Christmas Gift!

Let us open our minds, hearts, and souls to receive it!