Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying,
“I need to be baptized by you,
and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized,
he came up from the water and behold,
the heavens were opened for him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.
HOMILY ON CHRISTMAS
After about four weeks of Advent, all of us finally reach this moment of the day of Christmas when we celebrate the birth of the Lord and Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ. Today is indeed a day of great joy that finally after the long wait, the world has finally seen its Saviour, a long awaited moment and a new hope dawning on us mankind. Christmas is indeed the celebration of Christ, through Whom all of us have the reason to rejoice.
It is Christmas, the birthday of the Lord Jesus, the greatest of all birthdays, the day of our dreams. It is the birthday of the Son of God who has come to be with us. To all those who receive him and believe in his name, he gives power to become children of God. This is the news of great joy. A great light has appeared. A child is born for us, a son is given to us, that we may become children of God, children of light.
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. Let us give a joyful and hearty welcome to the Lord who comes to us, to our hearts and minds and lives. He is Emmanuel, God with us. In him God’s love and grace have been revealed, his coming has made salvation possible he came to teach us how to live and what to do. The merciful goodness, the infinite love of God for His creatures is concretised in His Son who is born poor and fragile in a manger. The initiative of divine bounty brings salvation to human beings. The incarnation of the Word of God invites us to live a sober, pious and just life. Thus the coming of the Lord calls to a Christian commitment of life. Christians must be persons who work for the realization of what the angels sang: Glory to God in the Highest and peace on earth to people of good will.
St. John says, he is the true light that enlightens every person who comes into this world. God who is love, communicates with us, reveals the truth to us, and leads us from darkness to light. For this purpose the Word became flesh, shared in our weakness, poverty and mortality. We must therefore walk this earth with our gaze fixed on Christ and our hope lifted to heaven. We must live in the light of Christmas which is faith. We must act in the warmth of Christmas which is love. We must rejoice in the radiance of Christmas which is purity. We must walk in the brightness of Christmas which is truth. We must focus our minds on the heart of Christmas, which is Christ. That is the way to live according to the sense and purpose of Christmas.
Dear friends, Jesus is counting on us. We are among those who believe in him because of the apostles. And he is counting on us to make known his love to others. Jesus gave us his love and his gospel. He is counting on us to live the good news and to transmit it to all people. When we do that, we shall be spreading the message, the beauty, the joy and the benefit of Christmas to our brothers and sisters around us.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
For today a great light has come upon the earth.
Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
for he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hand of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
The first reading describes how God will reform the lives of His Chosen People by sending the Messiah. Because of the bad example of the unfaithful successors of King David, the Chosen People were wavering in their loyalty to Yahweh. Hence, in the first reading, the Lord God, through His prophet, Isaiah, tries to dispel their fears and to stir up hope among His people with His promise of a new Davidic King (a son of Jesse), who will establish peace and a glorious Kingdom of justice on earth. In the second reading, Paul is praying for the reformation of the Jewish Christians of Rome they are to live in harmony with Gentile Christians, accepting them as equal, brothers and sisters, while they wait together for the second coming of Jesus. In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist urges the Pharisees and Sadducees to give evidence that they mean to reform their lives so as to recognize and be ready to meet and accept the promised Messiah. He challenges them to repentance, conversion and renewal. He tells the common people, who expect the Messiah to come soon, to act with justice and charity, letting their lives reflect the transformation that will occur when the Messiah enters their lives. In the same way, as we prepare to welcome Christ at Christmas, John advises us to “prepare the way of the Lord.”
We need to prepare for Christ’s coming by allowing him to be reborn daily in our lives: Advent is the time for us to make this preparation by repenting of our sins and renewing our lives through prayer, penance, and the sharing of our blessings with others. Let us remember the words of Alexander Pope: “What does it profit me if Jesus is reborn in thousands of cribs all over the world and not reborn in my heart?” He means that Jesus must be reborn in our heart during this season of Advent and every day of our lives, radiating his love, kindness, mercy, forgiveness and spirit of humble service to the world through our lives.
We need to answer the call for a change of life. John the Baptist challenges our superficial attempts at change, demanding that, while obeying the commandments faithfully, we must correct our relationships with others, mend ruptures, soothe frictions, face family responsibilities, work honestly, and treat everyone justly. Let us share our love with others as selfless and humble service.
We are called to be reconciled with God and with one another; to live in genuine peace and harmony; That reconciliation and acceptance of God’s mercy will certainly lead to the kingdom of peace we all await when Christ comes; the kingdom of peace starts with us when we are humble enough to be totally reconciled with God and with others.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.