“Do Not Be Afraid!”

Christmas Eve at Mount St. Francis

Homily by Deacon Nicholas Wolfla OFM Conv.

Dear God:

I’ve done pretty good today, I haven’t cursed, I haven’t stolen, I haven’t made fun of anyone, heck I haven’t even killed anybody. Overall so far it’s been a good day. Thing is God, I’m gonna have to get up in a few minutes, that might start some problems.

Anyone who knows me, knows full well that I am no angel, no wings, just a touch of attitude, a tad irreverent at times, sarcastic and (frankly a lot of fun). I get up every morning and try to adjust my life to the life of the Gospel. Some days, if it wasn’t for the Grace of God, I probably would stay in bed.

But here I am, this year I get to play the role of an angel. I get to dress pretty, and I get to announce to the entire world who can hear me:

"Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger."

For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
from David's throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!


And the Church rejoices:

Because you will find this child in the stable of your heart, wrapped in simplicity, his very existence is a wonder, his word, the Gospel is counsel, his actions in our lives if we let him grow in our lives are Heroic like Samson, Noah, Moses, and John the Baptist, the dominion of our heart and lives belong to Him, and he brings peace if we let him shoulder our imperfections and troubles. He rules us from the throne in our hearts, he is just, he frees us from ourselves, he is justice, He is God.

The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will do this. All we have to do is say yes! Liturgically this is the beginning of the Passion of Jesus Christ, it is the beginning of the road to resurrection on Easter, this is the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ and all we have to do is say; yes come into my heart O blessed one.

This is a time to celebrate what happened two thousand years ago and to celebrate what will continue to happen in our lives, because we embrace this small child. This weak, dependent, perfect child, conceived by the Spirit of God, essentially of himself as his unity with the Father and the Spirit. This God who loves us so much that he allowed himself to become his own creation. How Awesome Is That?

We know he is not like any other king, he is the king we need not the one we want. Instead of appearing in the clouds surrounded by the heavenly hosts, he entered the human family, by literally being family. He decided to become intimate with us, to know us in such a way that we know of his love. It’s both a great mystery and also a great gift.

Is it any wonder at his birth, the Messiah was announced by the heavenly hosts, not to the rich, not to the royal, but to the shepherds, the poor, those who were the smallest on the social ladder. He was announced and made known and we were told not to be afraid.

This coming of Jesus as well as his coming in our lives now, today, this instant, frees us, we have no reason to fear, because Emmanuel , GOD IS WITH US, walks with us and grows with us, just as Jesus grew into an adult, so his influence in our lives causes us to become the person he desires and calls us to be.

Keep the day with love. Keep the day without fear. Keep the day knowing that Jesus Christ is alive and with us and we will see him face to face someday. Keep the day with family and friends, but more importantly, most importantly, keep the day in the spirit of the Love Jesus has shown to us.

Merry, Blessed, and loving Christmas to each and every one of you.