As we gather today on this wonder-filled feast of Christmas, we each come with our memories of days gone by, of children and their excitement, of parents or grandparents, of other loved ones - some still with us, some not – but all brought close to heart as we remember how they may have touched our lives and enriched them. Some of us may not have cherished memories of earlier days because they were so difficult. Yet, this day is a day of celebration, of hope and thankfulness for the magnificent gift that God gave humanity. It’s etched in our hearts and it so good. It is an event that gives us hope when times are difficult and we are reminded of the incredible love of God for us.
The Gospel story that we heard proclaimed, is the familiar story of Jesus birth and we have all heard Luke’s Gospel many times. This week I saw this Gospel in a new way when I read an editorial in America Magazine that brought me a new understanding of this story. This editorial says “In a sense the Christmas story is one of borders. The Gospel of Luke tells us that the Holy Family’s journey begins with a population divided, a census of the whole world…each to his own town. In Matthew’s Gospel, Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem, then flee to Egypt, then settle in Nazareth….crossing border after border so that the Son of God might one day break them down.”
Jesus did just that in his adult years. He crossed borders both literally and figuratively. One major boundary was that “Christ entered fully into our humanity”. He came to us born of a woman. He also crossed from death into new life on our behalf. He lived fully among us during which time he broke rules, laws, always siding with the poor and those struggling. He fought for justice in a society that had as many challenges as we have in today’s societies and cultures. He advocated for peace in people’s hearts and peace among people. He was a shining example of one who works to break down obstacles that separate us from each other. His life then is a challenge to us. I think each of us here at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community and also the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests know this and are trying to live this challenge of breaking down unjust borders. I would also say that each of us here are in some way or another are involved personally in breaking down boundaries that disallows people to be fully who God called them to be.
By the same token we know that we may have to overcome our fear of taking these stands for justice and required change. We have to keep reminding ourselves of Jesus words “Do not be afraid, I am with you”. And Jesus is! This Cosmic Christ holds no divisions, no boundaries, just an openness and desire that we will become fully who we are and meant to be and take up the work of Jesus in our world. Over and over at Eucharist we say, “You are the Body of Christ, We are the Body of Christ, I am the Body of Christ”, then we really have to believe it. Let this beautiful child whose birth we celebrate today and whose life was one where new light came into the world and touched our hearts and souls and our world with God’s love. Let this child fill your heart with peace and purpose. Let me say this again, God’s boundless, unconditional love came to us as Jesus came into the world to tell us so. Even when life is tough and our life seems to be or is in chaos, remember God’s love for you, just as you are. This is the meaning of Christmas. Once we know of and experience God’s love we experience a peace within that is so profound that it will give us the courage to move to eliminate borders, or boundaries or divisions or unjust laws. The Spirit is calling us to do this. So allow this little one, this Christ Child, to give you hope.
“Today we celebrate the God of the past who loves us in the now and is the power of our future”.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Shared Homily questions:
As you have aged, do you see Christmas in a new way?
For you, what does Christmas say about God’s love?
|Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP and Priest Lee Breyer Co-Presided at Christmas Liturgy|
|Bridget Mary Meehan and Lee Breyer break the bread as community prays|
Kevin and Judy Connelly
Brunch after liturgy coordinated by Mary Al Gagnon on left in white
|left to right; Mark Binder, Mary Al Gagnon, Pat MacMillian Bob MacMillian, Ford Englerth, Lee Breyer|
|Left to right:Janet Blakeley, Sally Brochu, Bridget Mary Meehan|
|Demetre and Mindy Lou Simmons|
Left to right, Eileen Miller with back to camera, Russ Banner, Michael Rigdon, Imogene Rigdon, Bob Murray, Mary Murray, Debbie Hanson