Homily — Christmas MMVIII

Homily — Christmas MMVIII

Merry Christmas!

St. Luke, in his Christmas narrative, states that There were shepherds in that region, living in the fields just outside Bethlehem.

Shepherds trying to raise a family, trying to make a living, make ends meet.

Shpeherds who, as Midnight approached and the cold began to set in, looked out over those star lit fields to the town that lay in the distance, and began to ponder.

The town was filled with people.  One of the shepherds had to go into town earlier that day, and the sidewalks were filled with people; the muddy roads jammed with traffic.  You had to wait in long lines wherever you went.

And all throughout Bethlehem — in the Taverns, in the Marketplaces, in the places of worship — wherever you went, you could sense in the air a weariness, an anxiety about what the coming months might hold for people.

For as the shepherds and the townspeople knew full well, that this enrollment which Caesar Augustus decreed, which had caused all the inns of Bethlehem to be filled, could only mean one thing:  more taxes to pay to Caesar on top of the many other taxes they were already barely able to pay.

The enrollment of every man in the Empire might also mean that more wars were being planned by the powers that be in the months to come as well.

The shepherds looked out over the fields outside the city of Bethlehem, filled with these cares and concerns, and many other personal ones.

When suddenly, the Angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them.

And after hearing the Angel’s message, and experiencing the Lord’s Glory, and after seeing the vast army of God’s Angels all about them, praising God and saying “Glory to God in the Highest, and peace to men of good will,” the many cares and anxieties of those shepherds didn’t trouble them any more, rather, only one care and concern remained:  to seek out and find that infant wrapped in swaddling clothing, lying in a manger, and once they had found them, to worship and adore Him, and offer Him all they had, and then to make known the message that had been told them to everyone they came in contact with.

Oh Shepherds, young and old, my brothers and sisters in Christ, this Christmas Day let us cast off all our worldly cares, and see that the Glory of the Lord is shining upon us!

Let us see how God’s Army of Angels surrounds all men and women of good will, to protect them from all harm.  This Heavenly Host bids you and me to join in their song of praise to God in the Highest with them.

O Baby Jesus, may our one care in this life be to ever seek out, this day and every day, that lowly stable where you can now be found; with your Virgin Mother Mary and St. Joseph beside you, there to adore you as our Lord and God, and to cast our cares upon you, for you care so much for us, and to offer you all we have and are.

May our one care in this life be to draw all our brother and sister shepherds, to draw every human being we meet, to your manger, to kneel with us there, to be fed by you in Bethlehem, the House of Bread, with the Bread of Heaven, your Body and  Blood, Soul and Divinity.

Bless us, Baby Jesus, this Christmas, and by Your Incarnation, bring Peace to all men, women, and children of good will throughout this coming New Year.

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