A Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
Sunday, December 18, 2022
Holy Ghost Church – 5:00 Mass
Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-24
- As they say in the Philippines, “Advance Merry Christmas!”
- The Christian people of the Philippines, approximately 80% of their population, recognize during the season of Advent that Christmas is coming soon, but that it’s not here yet
- Therefore, they appropriately greet one another “Advance Merry Christmas.”
- So it’s almost Christmas…just one more week to go.
- How has your Advent been? Have you grown closer to God by taking on some spiritual practices you weren’t doing last throughout the rest of the year?
- Have you given more time to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas or have you allowed yourself to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of party-going, shopping and all around busyness?
- Not that there’s anything wrong with attending parties this time of year, of shopping for loved ones and decorating our homes. This is all part of the joy of the season, right?
- Of course it is
- But what are we celebrating? Why do we do these things?
- Do attend parties just because we like to party? Do we decorate simply because we enjoy decorating the house and, perhaps, having the coolest lights on the block? Do we buy gifts because we want our gifts to show friends and loved ones that we won’t be outdone in our generosity?
- Or, do we do these things because we are celebrating the soon-to-come Lord of the universe as an infant among us?
- A universe that scientists tell us contains two trillion galaxies and measures almost 28 billion light years across! I don’t even have a clue as to how to relate to something that enormous and incredible!
- The Word of God, the one who effortlessly SPOKE all of this into being, who will come among us as a humble and helpless infant, taking on the flesh of his lowly, but beloved, creatures in order to rescue us from sin and death.
- Emmanuel, God with us, promised by God through the prophet Isaiah in our first reading and revealed to Joseph in a dream in today’s gospel, comes to us in flesh, just like us in all things but sin so that he can save us from eternal death.
- Arriving in a lowly manger in Bethlehem, coming as a warrior in the disguise of a little baby – a real human person – to do BATTLE with the evil one and defeat the power of sin and death once and for all time
- This, friends, is what we should be preparing for during Advent! This is what we are celebrating at Christmas!
- Are we AMAZED by this or do we just take it for granted? I dare say that many of us, including myself, can easily take this real meaning of Christmas for granted.
- Don’t let that happen this year! Celebrate the miraculous coming of the all-powerful creator of the universe, the creator of all life, of all that exists, as one of us so that we can become like him.
- Let’s celebrate the fact that not only did he come to live among us, to defeat the enemy, but that he also gives us his flesh to nourish us, his real presence that remains among us and that we receive at each and every Mass in the Holy Eucharist!
- Let’s ask him to overwhelm us with the reality of his presence among us. Let us bow down and worship this good and loving Savior who humbled himself to come down from heaven and take on our flesh so that we might inherit eternal life!
- In the midst of our many joyful Christmas customs and as we complete our final preparations for Christmas Day, let’s make an effort to spend a little more time in prayer, thanking God for sending his Son to defeat the power of sin and death once and for all. Get to confession if you haven’t been yet. Let’s give it all we’ve got in this home stretch of the final week of Advent so that we will experience a Christmas unlike any other.
- So as they say in the Philippines, “Advance Merry Christmas.” May your Christmas be full of joy as you remember and celebrate its real meaning, the most amazing good news that the creator of the universe has become one of us so that we can live with him forever in heaven. God bless you.