Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - Day of Expectation
Today's liturgy sets the stage for what we have been waiting for -'the day of expectation is at hand'. The birth of Christ means a new chance for renewal regardless of how marred and smeared one's past life story may have been. This theme of 'new beginnings' dominate today's readings.

Isaiah 7:10-14
King Ahaz is seriously depressed! He had made some bad political decisions resulting in his people becoming subjugated to the Assyrians. Isaiah disagreed with Ahaz, but sought to assure him that all was not lost. God would continue to be faithful to His people. A sign would be given - Ahaz's young wife would give birth to a son as proof of God's continued presence with His people. In due course, this pledge of God's continued fidelity would find ultimate fulfilment in the birth of Christ.

Romans 1: 1-7
This pledge continues to be made known by the Apostles and all baptised people as they find in Christ the opportunity for constant renewal..

Matthew 1: 18-24
Here Matthew records for us that silent, unnoticed event which became the turning point of history.

Point 1: The majority of people are impressed with newness! We want new homes, new apartments, new clothes, new cars, new TVs, new interests. And, whilst this interest in novelty may serve to stop us getting into a rut, it can also cause us to dig a hole for ourselves from which it is difficult to emerge. Living in a society where one sector, business, with its glitzy advertising, continually encourages people to be the first with the latest, it is not surprising to find that for many, instead of being a cruise, life becomes a massive let-down. The celebration of Christmas is a classic example of this. People push themselves to the limit emotionally, physically and financially, to be ready. May we ask "ready for what"?

Point 2: The complete answer to that question only comes to us in the answer we give to another question - "Who is Christ"? At the heart of the Christian faith is the acceptance of Christ as the only individual who was both divine and human. In the person of Christ, we realise that God is not only the God who has acted in the past, and acts in the present, in history and sacrament; he is also God of the future.

The focal point of Christmas, then, is Christ bringing to the human race a new chance; Christ bringing to each person the opportunity of renewal.

Conclusion: This understanding of Christ who is to come again "to judge the living and the dead" should help revive in us the hope that supports us when depression sets in. The description of Christ as "the light of the world" should remind us that light cannot penetrate blacked-out windows; that it only penetrates in proportion to the clearness of the glass through which it shines. We are the glass through which the light of Christ is to shine; whether it is blacked-out, smudged or crystal clear depends on our response to Christ's invitation to be His disciples. As we celebrate Christmas, may others see our deeper vision of Christ reflected in the manner in which we celebrate.

[Mat 5:16] In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.