Sunday, December 21, 2014

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Christmas Day, Dec. 25th by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Many families are traveling—
one by one they let me know,
by phone or e-mail or in person—
that they couldn’t make it to this Christmas Mass in Toledo
because they’ll be in Seattle or Tampa or Nashville or Atlanta,
where they’ll go with their parents or children or cousins
to a Catholic or Episcopalian or Lutheran or Presbyterian
or nondenominational service
where their grandchild or sister or brother or lifelong friend
is serving the Mass or reading the scriptures
or giving the sermon or distributing communion.
Remember last Christmas—
we had as we do tonight/today guests from far and wide
celebrating here with their families—
the biggest turnout of the year for our little community!
So we celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth,
the baby who grew in age and wisdom and grace
to speak truth to power
and who calls us to follow his Way.
We know that the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke
were written to show truths about the Way that Jesus taught,
not to reflect historic occurrences.
So we watch the young couple travel
from their isolated village to the big city,
where they can’t find a room to stay in,
and we know the need to reach out
to the homeless, the refugees, and the immigrants in our day.
We see the baby in the manger
and know the potential of ordinary people
and the strength and wisdom of people
who lack material goods.
We see Mary and Joseph in the stable
and know the age-old love of parents for their children
and the reflection in them of God’s love for us.
We see the joy of shepherds and angels
and know that the highest and the lowest
are called to the same truth—
the truth that God is with us and in us.
Last year we heard Matthew’s story of Jesus’ birth,
and next year we’ll hear Luke’s.
This year, though, we hear the beginning of John’s Gospel,
not an infancy story
but a story of God creating all that we know in a “big bang,”
a cosmic hatch of universes and all that is in them.
When John wrote his Gospel, he would not have known
of the cosmic hatch 13.8 billion years ago,
or the stardust of our expanding universe
that comes forth as us humans on this great green planet.
Yet his mystical awareness of the power of God from all eternity
gives us the true story that still works
in light of all the scientific discoveries of our time.
In the beginning was the word—God’s word—
and that word spoken by God lives in everything and everyone,
becoming alive in plants and animals and human beings,
in Jesus of Nazareth
and all of us.
All is of God.
All is holy.
And so we celebrate!
John will go on
to tell the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection,
the story of God’s loving care for all,
the story of God’s special concern for the poor and oppressed.
The story is not over.
Each time we reach out to help someone;
each time we gather with family and friends,
each time we tend the poor and downtrodden among us,
we write another chapter of John’s story of God-with-us.
So let us celebrate with great joy
that perfectly wonderful expression of God-with-us—
the one who reveals God to us,
who shows us the Way.
Knit into the rhythm of our lives from all eternity,
Christ is born again in us.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

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