Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas 2016

Inspired by a dear friend Fr. Frank Matera on a beautiful hike at Steep Rock Reserve.

Once upon a time,
God looked down on the world he loved and sighed to Himself.
My people are so lost and confused.
Some are angry and bitter.
Some are lonely and afraid.
Some suffer so much and no one is willing to help them.

I’ve sent them prophets and kings over and over again, but nothing seems to work.

All I have left to do is send them my Son.
No one loves humanity more than Him.

So he called the Archangels Raphael, Michael and Gabriel together and said my people seem so lost.
I’ve decided to send My Son to the world.  
Where do you think I should send Him?
After a couple of days, the Archangels returned to God and Raphael stepped forward confidently and said, “I think you should send your Son to Rome.

The Romans are a powerful people and they have the best army in the world.
They are also great road builders and all roads lead to Rome.

Once your Son brings them to faith once they believe the Roman Legions can march all over the world spreading the Good News.”

He stepped back very confident.

Next, Michael the Archangel stepped forward and said, “I think you should send Him to Athens.

The wisest men and the greatest philosophers in the world live there.
When Athens speaks, the whole world listens.” If your Son went to Athens the philosophers could bring the whole world to faith with their logic.

Finally, the Archangel Gabriel stepped forward and said, “I think you should send your Son to Egypt.

They are the greatest builders.
Everyone looks at the pyramids with wonder.
They have the very best technology in the world.
If your son went to Egypt
He could use all of their technological skills to  save  the world.”

God listened attentively to the Archangels, and then he said
“Thank you for your wise counsel. I am going to ponder what you’ve said.”

A couple of days later God called them back.

They hurried back to be with God
Each of them was hoping that God would take their suggestion.
There was a stir in the air as they waited for God.

When God saw them, he welcomed them and said, “I have thought a lot about what you said and I have decided to send my son to Bethlehem.”

The Archangels were shocked.  
Michael the Archangel even blurted out, “Bethlewhere?” God smiled at him and said

I have chosen this little town in a tiny country because if I sent my son to Rome and the Romans carried his message to the world, people might believe more out of fear rather than love.  
We all know that power rarely changes a human heart.

And I decided against Athens because even though they are very smart in Athens their wisdom is worldly and sometimes rather black and white very logical.
It’s hard for them to accept anything uncertain or grey.
Worldly philosophies not rooted in faith and love can be very dangerous.

And as far as the Egyptians are concerned, yes,
I really like what they have done with the pyramids and they certainly have the best technology in the world.
Everyone looks at their creations with wonder and awe,
Our people need to find comfort when they look to the heavens not some newfangled technology.

And so it was that God’s Son was born in a way and a place no one could not have imagined.

You see, God was doing something new,
something that didn’t make sense to the angels.

God did something that doesn’t make sense to many in our world today
Our’s is a world which places its trust in power, worldly wisdom, or technology.

Tonight we celebrate birth of God’s Son, Jesus.
With Him light, life, and love are born to a broken and lonely world

With the prophet Isaiah, we proclaim that we have seen a great light.

With Saint Paul, we announce that grace,
God’s grace, has appeared in Jesus Christ,

With the His birth we dare to hope that God’s grace can even save us and inspire us to reject selfishness and sin so that one day we can live in God’s presence forever.

With the angels we rejoice that a savior is born today who is Christ the Lord—He is an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And this moment teaches us that God will not save us with power and worldly wisdom or technology rather God will save us with the poverty and weakness of this little baby.

God will save us by loving us and forgiving us and one day even dying for us.

Don’t ever forget that this gift of Christmas, this gift of God’s love, is for everyone. No one is excluded.

Our Holy Father Pope Francis reminds us over and over again that
The gift of Christmas is especially for those who live on the margins of society;
those who just don’t fit in, those who are only fully accepted by God.

May this Christmas Day be a blessing to us.
May it be a blessing for your family and those you love.
May it inspire us to try a little harder to love like the little baby in the manger.
May it give each and everyone of us hope, never ending hope.

And as we gaze on the child lying in the manger, may we never doubt the depth of God’s love no matter who we are where we live or what we’ve done.

Amen.   Merry Christmas!

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