[__01_] In the Good News of Christmas, there are groups of individuals who arrive to ADORE.
We arrive to adore him, Christ the Lord, the Christ child of Bethlehem.
O Come All Ye Faithful.
[__02_] The shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem are the earliest group of disciples, the earliest ones to be informed.
This is not an individual, personal download of information… but a message received by the shepherds in community.
They will check to see if this is a hoax… by going to the manger – by praying, honoring, adoring -- in Bethlehem.
[__03_] You and I come to Sunday Mass and to Christmas Mass also as a community, as a communion, as the Church, the People of God.
We adore him.
Come All Ye Faithful. Come Let us Adore him.
[__04_] In some instances, we have reason to be afraid or to be suspicious of ADORATION which is demonstrated only in crowds, large groups, stadiums, arenas.
That is, we might be afraid or suspicious of ADORATION that we are simply reading about or seeing… on a screen –
· Fans adoring a famous person or team
· Appreciation of something superficial or material or only entertaining
· Some people choose to ADORE the NY GIANTS, NY YANKEES, NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL, et al…but maybe not in 2013.
[__05_] Adoration, honor – by the shepherds – on the other hand – bring no immediate prosperity or success or diversión.
Would this ADORATION capture our attention?
You and I might prefer to take our ADORATIONS from the comfortable individual screen and/or seat.
The simple poor Shepherds of the First Noel demonstrate that adoration is a communal activity.
It is for the family, for the group, for our parish.
The shepherds travel and arrive together at the manger of Bethlehem.
[__06_] Learning to adore the Christ child as Lord and Messiah, in communion, reminds us that all of our gifts are shared.
What you and I might regard as –
· “my intelligence”
· “my experience”
· “my wealth”
All of these are gifts we are called to share.
[__07_] Of course, you and I may experience ACHIEVEMENT or PROSPERITY or HAPPINESS due to certain possessions or characteristics.
We have our own…
· Grades in school = intelligence
· Experience of the world = wisdom
· Possessions, investments, portfolio = wealth
Pope Francis, in writing about the economy, about wealth.. points out that this gathering of possessions does not simply cut us off
It really cuts us off not only from those from people different or less advantaged … but also cuts off – is an obstacle in reaching our own center, our own heart … our conscience is “blunted”
Pope Francis writes:
“Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.”
Pope Francis – Time Man of the Year / Person of the Year on planet Earth and ours continues and quotes the Holy Father in whose footsteps he follows …
“I never tire of repeating those words of Benedict XVI which take us to the very heart of the Gospel: “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction”.
*** OMITTED – SPOKEN HOMILY - 8. Thanks solely to this encounter – or renewed encounter – with God’s love, which blossoms into an enriching friendship, we are liberated from our narrowness and self-absorption. We become fully human when we become more than human, when we let God bring us beyond ourselves in order to attain the fullest truth of our being. Here we find the source and inspiration of all our efforts at evangelization. For if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?”
[__08_] Christmas reminds us that our true beauty and true goodness are gifts from God.
Also, the beauty and goodness we discover in others are also precious gifts of God to be protected, not simply possessed.
[__09_] Adoration – Adoration -invites to practice our Catholic faith and Christian love publicly by what we say and do…
For example, in caring for a beloved person with an illness… WE ADORE HIM
In sharing our intelligence and our wisdom with others… WE ADORE HIM
In loving the person whom others might ignore or overlook ... whether this is a co-worker, a neighbor, a boy or girl on the school bus or in our classroom, WE ADORE HIM.
Admitting our need for God’s help to discern right from wrong, WE ADORE HIM.
We make way for Jesus’s entry into Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
We come to Mass publicly also to pray and seek the spiritual support of others to discover the gifts which God has given us to share
In this regard, we can find safety and shelter and intimacy – with our Savior – even in a crowd. [__fin__]