• Fr. Austin

Welcoming the Child


His coming has brought joy to so many.


The arrival of the child is praised and sung by people of many languages, in many lands, far and wide. We have witnessed his power and the transformative effect that he can have on others – how he makes rough people soft, and doubters rethink what they know. His coming is almost miraculous.


Someone so small, yet filled with mystery and power. What will he be? What is his role in our lives? How will this story play out? Each week, we gather to see what will happen next, and we wait to be touched in a new way.


Who else could do this, except …


Baby Yoda.


I’m talking about the tiny alien that has Star Wars fans thrilled and in adoration of his cute pointy ears and big dark eyes. Since he appeared in the new series, “The Mandalorian,” Baby Yoda has been nothing short of a sensation – almost a religious experience – as he graces t-shirts, cell phone wallpapers, and memes.


If you haven’t encountered him yet, or if you don’t know who he is, ask your kids or grandkids.


However, I am sure that you did not come here today to hear me talk about Baby Yoda. Perhaps, you are a little irritated that I am bringing up a Star Wars reference on Christmas at Mass. If that is the case I have one thing to say to you:


Good!


This is not what we came here to celebrate. We are here to celebrate the presence of the Lord God made flesh in Jesus Christ – the Child who was born on Christmas Day. This is the reason for this day, and if we are truly dedicated to our faith, He is the reason for our every day. We should be as devoted to and excited about Jesus as people can be over Baby Yoda, or over their political opinions, or their favorite football team. However, too often, these are the things that are celebrated in our world. Jesus, sadly, becomes yesterday’s news; and in a world of pop culture and tiny attention spans, our faith finds it difficult to establish a root in our lives.


This need not be the case. Because, Jesus is today’s news – especially today. This is the message of the angels, proclaimed today: “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.” This news is ever fresh, because we are always in need of the power that Jesus imparts – not the Force, not political strength or influence, not an unstoppable running game, but the power to save us from our sins and to give us a future when all seems lost and dark. Only the Child at Bethlehem can do this. Only Jesus.


Paul reminds us that “the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age.” This grace of God should pull us away from the materialistic pursuits of the world and of the consumer celebrations that the season offers, and it shows us the true meaning of Christmas – that God loves us and chooses to become one of us. Now born in the flesh, Jesus – God-made-Man – can be encountered in a personal way – a way that can change lives and transform the world.


We have tried other paths to peace and to meaning in our lives; and too often they fall flat and leave us even more empty. Only Jesus gives real meaning to our lives, because it is he who is the “Wonder-Counselor,” the one whose life and death have opened to us the eternal destiny for which we have been made.


You are here for this, I am sure. This is what we want at Christmas – at least, those of us who are here in church. Many of our family and friends have lost sight of that gift and need it so badly. Think of your kids, your grandchildren. Jesus is the great gift of this day. If they haven’t encountered Him, or if they don’t know who His is, tell them about Him.


He is the Child whose coming has brought joy to so many.


His arrival is praised and sung by people of many languages, in many lands, far and wide. We have witnessed His power and the transformative effect that he can have on others – how he makes rough people soft, and doubters rethink what they know. His coming is certainly miraculous.


Someone so small, yet filled with mystery and power. What will he be? What is his role in our lives? How will this story play out? How will ours now? Each week, we gather to see what will happen next, and we wait to be touched in a new way.


Merry Christmas!

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