|SUNDAY HOMILIES FOR YEAR C|
|By Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, cssp|
|Homily for 2nd Sunday of Christmas - on the Gospel|
Welcoming the Divine Guest
|Sirach 24:1-2, 8-12||Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-8||John 1:1-18|
A story is told of an old woman who lived all alone. Each year as Christmas drew near she would sigh and lament her loneliness, wishing that some people would visit her. Since nobody would visit her, she decided to pray to the baby Jesus and his mother requesting that they pay her a visit. Finally the baby Jesus appeared to her in a dream and told her that her prayer had been heard and that the Holy Family would visit her on Christmas day. Oh, how excited she was! She began cleaning and polishing everything in her house squeaky clean in preparation for the divine visitor. She cooked her best dish and baked her best cake in readiness for the visit of Jesus and his mother. Who knows, maybe if she pleased them well enough, they might decide to stay on and live with her.
When Christmas day finally arrived her house was squeaky clean. Everything was in place to give her divine guests a befitting welcome. She sat by the door and read a book, just to make sure the visitors would not have to ring the door bell twice before she would open the door and let them in. It was a cold and rainy day. At about noon she spotted a gypsy couple in the rain making their way to her house. The man was dirty and dishevelled man the thinly clad woman was nursing a baby who was crying in the rain. “Why can’t these gypsies just get a decent job,” she said to herself. Then she screamed at them, “Turn back, turn back immediately. Come another day if you like. Today, I am expecting very important visitors.” The gypsy family turned back and left. The woman continued to wait.
She waited all day and no divine visitors showed up. At sunset she fell asleep on the chair and there in her dream was Jesus. “Jesus,” she screamed, “how could you disappoint me? You said you were coming to visit me for Christmas and I waited all day and you never showed up.” “But I did show up,”replied Jesus. I came with my father and mother in the rain and you turned us away.”
The Gospel of John, which we have for today’s gospel reading, does not show much interest in the birth of Jesus. John prefers, rather, to talk about the coming of the incarnate Word (Logos) of God into the world. When we see the birth of Jesus as God visiting His people, then one question becomes paramount: “How do we receive him?” The human tragedy, according to John, is that when Jesus came, “He came to what was his own, and his own people did not receive him” (John 1:11). This is the tragedy of the woman in our story. It is the tragedy of many men and women today who celebrate a “merry” Christmas but miss out on the one thing that really matters: whether or not we welcomed Jesus our diving guest at Christmas.”
John urges us to welcome our divine visitor because he brings with him three gifts that we badly need in our lives as children of God. The three gifts are truth, grace and power. “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.... The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”(John 1:12, 17). His truth enlightens us to clearly know what is right and what is wrong. His grace means everything for nothing to those who don’t deserve anything. His power enables us to become children of God in deed. For it is not enough to know the right way, we also need the power to walk in it. It is not enough to be forgiven of our sins, we also need the power to stop committing more. It is in welcoming Jesus our divine guest that we receive from him truth, grace and power to become children of God.
Let our prayer today be that God give us the wisdom to avoid the human tragedy of refusing Jesus. Let us welcome the newborn Jesus as king and ruler of our lives, knowing that in him we have everything to gain and nothing to lose.