25/12/03 Christmas Day(C) John 1: 1-5, 9-14
St. PatrickŪs parish is in Kowloon, Hong Kong.› There are four weekend Masses including a childrenŪs Mass at 10:45, Sunday.› This is the parish where I was formerly pastor. [email protected].› Cf. also Social Concerns Education: www.acpp.org -- Fr. Gene Thalman M.M.]
I would like each of you to think about your life story. [Long pause]. Now a good way to tell any story is to begin at the very beginning.› Where would you begin your life story?
Perhaps you would begin your story with your father and mother and the nine months before you were born.› Your parents started caring for you and loving you even before you were born?
During the nine months preceding your birth, your mother made many sacrifices for you.› She may have had to eat special foods that she didnŪt likeůlike prunes and broccoli. She had to stop eating fast foods and potato chips. Before you were born your mother already loved you. She wanted to have a healthy body to house you during the following nine months.› And after you were born she needed to be in good health to take care of you at any time of the day or nightůwhenever you cried. Perhaps your father had to give up smoking, take on an extra job and cut out late night carousing with friends and ruffians.› Yes, the story of your life began months before you were born.› Your parents loved and cared for you even before you were born.› That is how you might think of beginning your life story.
But actually each of your lifeŪs stories began even earlier than nine months before your birth.
GODŪS WORD:› In todayŪs gospel reading, St. John informs us of the žbeginningÓ time-- long, long ago when God began loving and caring for us.› It was the žbeginningÓ of GodŪs plan to send his beloved Son to be with us and lead us to eternal safety.
žIn the beginning was the Word; the Word was in GodŪs presence, and the Word was God.Ó [Jn 1:1]› [NAB]
››››››››››› Our personal Christmas story begins in eternity.
›žThe Word was God,Ó
St. John tells that the Word was the second person of the blessed Trinity.› Because the žWord was God,Ó he was eternal, there never was a time when the Word did not exist. The Christmas story begins in eternity.
žThrough him all things came into being and apart from him nothing came to be.Ó
››››››››››› John tells us that at some point in time, according to modern scientists-fifteen to twenty billion years ago, God began a long process of creation.› About forty thousand years a new kind of creature appeared on earth.› We would have hesitated inviting one of these creatures to our house for dinner.› Nevertheless these creatures, our ancestors, had much in common with us.› These folks could think about things, talk to one another, love others and know that others loved them.› It certainly took a long time to get you and me.› It was GodŪs long-range plan.
Whatever came to be in him,
››››››››››› But there was more to GodŪs plan.› God wanted to share his very life with each of us human beings.› And already billions of years ago, God planned to do this by sending his Son, Jesus, true God and true man, to give us this life.› He did!› It would be through Jesus, the Son of God, that all human beings would find the fullness of lifeůdivine life. That is why we Christians of St. PatrickŪs community are so happy this Christmas day, 2003.››
Be full of wonder at the billions of years that preceded the birth of Christ and the birth of each of us. Think a lot about this during this Christmas week.› God began loving and caring for you and me billions of years before we were born!› God thinks that everyone of us is real important and precious.
› How many of you will try to remember to think of this often during the coming week?› If you are in a family, at grace before meals, remind each other about the many years God had been preparing for the birth of Jesus and for the birth of each member of your family.
If any family remembers to do this each day during the coming week, next Sunday I will give each member of that family a holy card. I will!
If you will attempt to do this, stand up now and recite the Creed.
FINALE› ›A good way to tell the story of Jesus is to žstart from the beginningÓ-- just the way St. John did in this morningŪs Christmas gospel.
25/12/03›› Christmas Day (C)› John 1: 1-5, 9-14
THREE WORDS:› Beginning of Christmas Story
THEME:› The Christmas story and our story began in eternity.
TEXT:› žIn the beginning÷Ó
DESIRED RESULT:› Father, your Christmas Day homily was okay. I couldnŪt get it out of my head all week that God was thinking about me billions of years ago.› It made me feel like a VIP (very important person).
CHURCHŪS POINT OF VIEW
››››››››››› žThe coming of GodŪs Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the ŽFirst Covenant.ŪÓ›
Catechism of the Catholic Church, (Mission Hills: Benziger Publishing Co, 1994),› #522, p. 131-132.
žThe prologue [of St. JohnŪs Gospel] gives in a nutshell the content of the gospel in relation to the evangelistŪs purpose of revealing the true identity and mission of Jesus to the audience.› It may be likened to the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke in that it deals with JesusŪ origins and announces the nature of his mission.Ó›
Teresa Okure, žJohnÓ, in The International Bible Commentary, ed. by William R. Farmer (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1998), p. 1459.
25/12/03›››› Christmas Day(C)› John 1: 1-5, 9-14
1. When telling a story, it is best to start at the very b_______.
2. In his gospel, at what point did St. Luke begin the Story of Jesus?
3. In his gospel, at what point did St. Matthew begin the Story of›››››››
››› Jesus?› ____________________________________
4. When did God start planning for the birth of Jesus? ________
5.› When did God start planning for your birth? ______________