Friday, December 25, 2015

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Holy Family, Dec. 27, 2015, Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Today's story of Jesus in the Temple
uses a literary device common to Greek hero biographies.
It presents a story from the hero's youth
to show what the hero will achieve as an adult.
Fr. Raymond Brown cites just a few of the parallel legends
that show a clear pattern of boyhood stories
of famous figures at about age 12:
the Buddha in India, Osiris in Egypt,
Cyrus the Great in Persia, Alexander the Great in Greece,
Augustus in Rome, and in Israel, Josephus,
Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, Moses, and Samuel.
Fr. Brown says that the underlying principle
is that the child must already have been
what the man would become known to be,
that is, a child of God speaking and acting with divine power.
The episode is, scholars tell us,
without foundation in historical memory.
As Marcus Borg would put it,
it's one of those stories that is true
but never actually happened.
Still, it sets forth a series of insights about God and humanity
as understood by the post-resurrection Christian community.
The message for us today lies in those insights,
and it boils down to the truth
that we are all children of God.
When we understand and act on that insight,
we grow, like Jesus, in wisdom and age and grace.
People see it in us
because they see how we love one another.
The first letter of John, written around the same time
as these infancy narratives were added to Luke's gospel,
says it clearly: we are all God’s own children!
We will grow to be like God,
and remain in God, and God in us,
because we follow God's law:
that we love one another.
I don't live in a nuclear family—
my parents have passed,
my brothers married and moved out of state.
As a result, people worry about me around the holidays.
Do I have somewhere to go, they ask.
And I do.
I have wonderful cousins here in Toledo
who surround me with the love of their family circle.
And even more, I am surrounded
by countless brothers and sisters
who reveal Christ to me.
On Christmas Eve morning
I breakfasted with many of them at Claver House,
a roomful of people who accept me as I am
and whose friendship I cherish.
After breakfast one of them invited me to his home,
where I met his son
and enjoyed the beautiful decorations
that he and his wife had put up
for their 61st Christmas together.
And I was sent home with a bottle of his favorite 40-proof eggnog.
Then there was the Vigil Mass with you, more children of God,
celebrating the birthday of our brother Jesus
in communion with one another.
And a supper gathering with family in town for the holidays.
On Christmas Day I breakfasted at Claver again,
then the morning Mass with you,
and visits between NBA games in the afternoon,
topping it off with supper with friends and neighbors.
It never has to be lonely being single!
I'm surrounded with a huge family
who I call friends and neighbors and cousins,
librarians and grocers,
seed-swappers and chicken-keepers,
tree-planters and teachers…
brothers and sisters in every nook and cranny of my life!
Each of them—each of you—is a gift from God,
all of us part of one family.
And what a holy family we are!
I thank God for you!

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006

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