Homily for Christmas 2021

posted 3 Jan 2022, 03:16 by Parish Office

Homily for Christmas 2021

How do we prove the existence of God? Some people turn to philosophy. One of the arguments goes like this: we can show the existence of God through the existence of movement in the world. In order for one inanimate object to move, such as a snooker ball, it requires something else to make it move, maybe another snooker ball hitting into it. But ultimately, there needs to be something, or perhaps we should say, someone, who started the ball rolling, a bit like the snooker player with a snooker cue. So when we look into the sky and see the motion of the planets, someone must have started it all off. And the One who did that, people call God. Perhaps some people might put it together with the Big Bang theory, and say that God started off the explosion that created the universe.

There are other arguments too. But they only take us so far (and some of them are a bit complicated, and leave some people with their brains overheating and steam coming out of their ears). These arguments try to prove the existence of God, but that is as far as they go. Their job is to prove the existence of God. They tell us that God exists because…, but they don’t say much about Him beyond that. That is why we need God to speak to us, what we sometimes call divine revelation.

When we read the Bible, we see that God didn’t want to leave us alone – He wanted to reveal Himself to us and help us to get to know Him. To begin with, He communicated with his prophets. At times, people saw them perform great miracles, such as the parting of the Red Sea, or the multiplication of food. And then, when the time was right, after all this divine revelation had taken place, God took part in the ultimate divine revelation: rather than communicating with us from afar, He became one of us. God the Son, who had existed before time began together with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, who had been present when the world was made, through whom all things were made, now became one of us. He didn’t give up being God. But at the same time He became one of us, subject to all the limitations of being a human being – needing to sleep, to eat, feeling thirsty and so on. He was willing to take on all of that so that He could be close to us, win us over to Him, and reveal fully what God is like. As St John wrote in his Gospel: “No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” Jn 1:18. Or as the

first preface of the Nativity of the Lord says, “as we recognize in him God made visible, we may be caught up through him in love of things invisible”. Christ reveals to us that there is more than just the material world around us. Science speaks about so-called “dark matter”, which we can’t see but is out there in the universe and exerts a gravitational pull on everything else. The universe is amazing, but Christ reveals other things invisible: the existence of angels, the grace of God, including in the sacraments, the existence of heaven and so on. When Christ is born, for a brief moment, the shepherds see and hear the angels. They see what is already there, but invisible. We each have a guardian angel. But we have probably never seen our own or other people’s guardian angels. We are like blind people, and someone needs to describe to us the people and things around us that we cannot see.

Christ reveals to us other things that we can’t necessarily see. You can’t “see” love as a concept, but you can recognise it in others. The way Christ reveals the love of God is not through some complicated philosophical reasoning; He demonstrates it Himself in the love He shows to others. And that love isn’t just about being nice – at times that loves leads Him to speak out and defend people from those who are leading them astray, such as those so-called religious leaders who are so knowledgeable about God that when God actually walks among them they fail to recognise Him.

Jesus puts it all across so simply. He makes things easy to grasp using parables. But first of all, before all that, He is born amongst us as a baby. Shepherds are told about this new birth, not by a sudden philosophical inspiration, but by the appearance of angels who bring the message, and fill the night air with heavenly harmonies praising God for what He has done, and what He is going to do: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will”. Later on, guided by a star, come the Wise Men. But before them, come those who respond to God’s direct revelation through the angels, who come with humble hearts to the manger. First those who trust, and then the intellectuals.

Tonight/today, we follow in their footsteps. We pray that, “as we recognize in him God made visible, we may be caught up through him in love of things invisible”. God has become one of us. God has become close to us. And His love opens us up to a whole new world.