Thursday, 2 January 2014

Christmas homily

In the beginning was — nothing: deeper than any nothing we can imagine: no time, no space, no matter. Sheer, absolute nothing. And from this nothing, the silent whisper of God's Word exploded : exploded into everything. The world came into being through him. From one infinitely tiny spark of no space and no time came the infinite greatness of all space and all time, the cosmos, stars, planets, our world, the vast chaos of oceans, volcanic lands and life: plants, amoebae, sea creatures, reptiles, birds, mammals, and eventually, us. All from nothing. ALL from nothing, by the Word. And that Word was God. 

From nothing, but not "for" nothing. For, millions upon millions of years after the beginning of time from a second nothing, the emptiness of a virgin's womb, God's Word spoke anew, but this time in the language of flesh and bone and blood: a baby boy, a Word spelt out in birth, in life, in teachings and in actions, and in death the secret, silent mystery and meaning of creation. The God who spoke first the language of the stars, of carbon and the molecules of which all things are made, translates Himself into Jesus, a Word we can understand, a light brighter than any star, as John the Baptist was first to hear and testify. 

To testify that, this sacred night, God was born to Mary. To testify that, this sacred night, the One beyond all time and space entered time and space, to walk among us, to walk with us, to show us the Way, to be the Way. The Way along which Jesus, God the Son, leads us with Him back to God the Father. From time back to eternity. From creation back to the creator. From darkness into light.

In Jesus, God walked among us, but we did not know him, we did not accept him, we did not receive him. Yet we can receive Him now. We can receive him by walking his Way: the Way He offered us on His Cross. This night, at Christmas, God gives himself to us in life, the life of a baby boy. But we know that he will also give himself to us in death, even as we kill Him, on Good Friday. And that is where a third and final nothing, a final emptiness comes in: after the first nothing before creation, after the second nothing of the virgin's empty womb, comes the last nothing of the empty tomb. But after that, there can be no more emptiness, no more nothingness: because from the tomb Springs the Word anew, the fulness of love which overcomes all emptiness, lightens all darkness, even the emptiness and darkness of death. 

This night and always, God offers life and love to all who will receive Him; to all who will empty themselves and be filled with Him. He offers it in creation, in making us and giving us the opportunity to live and love. He offers it in His birth and life in Jesus Christ, being born a human for us and showing us the Way that we must walk. He offers it in his death, in His flesh and blood offered for us on the Cross, and here, today in bread and wine at the Altar. Advent was a time of repenting, emptying ourselves, preparing like Our Lady Mary to be filled with Him so that we too can bring Him forth in the world. There will be birth-pangs, there will be suffering, for that is the Way of the Cross. But to all who receive him, to all who believe in his holy Name, he gives power to become children of God. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, God joined humanity, so that humanity might join God in the fulness of grace and truth. I pray that you receive Him tonight in the words of Holy Scripture; receive Him in the love of your friends and families; receive Him at this Altar in bread and wine; and bring forth some of his love, his peace, his joy this Christmastime and always.

No comments:

Post a Comment