Christmas Vigil of December 24, 2019

Emmanuel—Gift from God the Father

Joke: Christmas shopping, though fun, can be difficult. Did you hear about the guy that bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas? A friend of his said, "I thought she wanted one of those sporty 4-Wheel drive vehicles." "She did," he replied. "But where am I going to find a fake Jeep?"

Fake and real, one is big and the other is small. One is heavy, and the other is real light. One is to ride on, and the other is to wear on finger. One can be fake, but the other is difficult to fake.

Love and gift, one is common, and the other is not. One can be heard a lot through the lips of people, while the other is not. One is easily manipulated, while the other is not. One can hurt people deeply, while the other cannot. However, when God chose to reconcile humanity with God, he chose these two to reveal himself to us.

When two people love each other, they want to be one with each other. When two people are in love, whatever one likes, the other also likes or learns to like. Whatever one dislikes, the other learns to distance from it as well. Whatever one likes to eat, the other learns to like as well. Whatever one likes to say, the other learns to say it as well. It is all because they love each other, and they want to satisfy each other of what she or he wants and likes.

What happens when they stop loving each other? Hatred and resentment begin to expose. Criticizing and judging occur more in conversations and daily activities. Hurting each other more and more in words and even in actions; Ignoring the presence of each other more and more in daily activities and conversations; Using other aids such as alcohol, smoking, shopping, lying and cheating more to each other, and many other crooked ways of life just to hurt each other more and not loving each other more. When they stopped loving each other, love can be easily manipulated, can be easily fake, and can be easily damaged more and more in relationship.

Thanks be to God that he sent his only Son to us to show us the true love that nothing can manipulate, nothing can destroy, and nothing can replace it. This first revealed in the Son of God who vested on himself our human flesh to be born of the Virgin Mary, disregarded his divinity to lower himself to come to us in our flesh, and willingly accepted to be born in the line of David. Forty-two generations before the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ, they were not all worthy to be ancestors of the Savior. Judah, for example, married to his first son’s wife Tamar which was morally wrong in our modern eyes. David took the wife of his officer Uriah to be his wife, while he was faithful to him. These imperfect people that God, the Son of God, was born to show us what it meant to be true love. True love is first and foremost to humble ourselves to accept one another of whoever he is or she is.

Virgin Mary’s true love is to accept the invitation of the Lord to be the Mother of God, even though the baby that she carried in her womb that she conceived could lead her to be stoned to death according to the culture at that time. Joseph’s true love is to accept the invitation of the Lord to be the husband of Virgin Mary, even though the baby in her womb is not from him. The true love of both Mary and Joseph teaches us to acknowledge that we are handmade by the Lord and allow the Lord to work in us and through us in this walk of life.

Every Christmas comes, we have a good tradition to give each other a gift that is either small or big, insignificant or significant, and simple or valuable with the message of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. With the gift, we wrap it nicely to present to someone special to us. The gift might be small or big, but the content of the gift is what we really want to send with true love. With true love, we hope the receiver opens it and uses it in remembering the love of the sender.

God the Father has sent us the gift with true love, and that is our Savior. This special Gift has revealed in time in the person of Jesus Christ. Each Christmas, we are reminded the love of God the Father has for us to send us this special gift. Each Christmas, we are also reminded to open the gift not just to stare at it and put it away when the season is over, but open it and use it. What we are invited to use the special gift of God the Father sent to us is Jesus’ teaching. His teaching though is in volume, but it’s condensed into only one simple word spelled LOVE. Perhaps, each time we love one another or love someone is each time we are reminded to thank God the Father who sent us his special gift of his only Son to us in Christmas. How is your love for one another? For your loved one(s)? And for others?


Weekday Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Thang Nguyen

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