Nativity of the Lord

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2015/12/20 at 12:00 AM

Some of the Fathers of the Church speculated that, after their creation, Adam and Eve only lasted 6 hours in the Garden before committing the original sin.

It’s a sad fact of our humanity that mankind has been rejecting God almost from the first moment that He created us!
While we were created in beauty and have a great capacity for nobility and virtue, while we were created to shine with the very radiance of God Himself, that magnificent gift of freedom that separates us from the animals often gets misused by us, and sometimes with disastrous effects.
Indeed, each of our individual human natures hangs in this precarious balance between corruptibility and incorruptibility. We can incline ourselves in either fashion, giving our natures either the chance to be ennobled by God’s grace or debased by our sins.
In a sense, during our earthly lives we stand always between the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and we constantly must make the decision as to which tree’s fruit we will feed upon. That is the tension of our earthly lives.
It’s a sad irony of our race that, even though God created us out of love and for love, we do not always return His love.
In our willfulness we often reject Him, and like Adam and Eve, we feed upon the bittersweet and cursed fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
We see this in our society so very acutely this time of year!
While most of our society is celebrating this holiday as the happiest day of the year, aday of gift-giving and mirth-making, a day of feasting and celebrating with loved ones,there is a dark undercurrent present in our society today when it comes to Christmas.
Many of us go through herculean efforts to decorate our homes, prepare food, buy andwrap gifts, and so forth as a means of celebrating this special day. And of itself, this isnot a bad thing.
It’s nice that our world has one time of year when we all try to be a little kinder andmore generous with each other!
But sadly so many people go through these efforts without the least thought of doing sofor our Lord! Instead of celebrating because our Lord became man in order to save usfrom sins, many of us celebrate and serve ourselves at Christmas.
And so it is that Christmas – Christ’s Mass – has degenerated into a secular holiday forone and all to celebrate, regardless of what creed one professes.
The sad part is not that non-Christians celebrate Christmas. The sad part is that thesecular world has commandeered Christmas, so much so that it’s a breach of politicalcorrectness to even say “Merry Christmas” out in public.
But we should not be surprised that this type of evil exists. Evil has been with mansince the very beginning of our human history.
As St. Peter tells us, the devil prowls like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.The evil one is alive and well, and he is especially active the holiest times of the year.
Just as he had his way with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden so long ago, thatserpent still slithers about spreading his falsehoods and deceptions, doing all he can to turn souls away from God.
And this serpent of sin, who preys upon the weakness of humanity, is precisely why our Lord came to us as man!
So as we look out upon our society this time of year and witness the outright rejection of Christ by our world at a time when we should love Him more than ever, we should not fear or be angry.
No, my brothers and sisters, this rejection simply shows us how much we need Jesus and His gifts of grace and mercy and redemption! Thus we should hope in the Lord all the more – and be so thankful that He came as He did 2000 years ago!
Let’s be clear, Christ came as man to fight the devil and to redeem our fallen human nature. He came to stand with us between the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil to point out the way that leads to eternal life!
Sometimes when we see the evil that exists in our world, and even the evil that exists within our very selves, we are tempted to despair of our Lord. Like a bully, the devil tries to make himself seem more powerful than he really is.
Worse yet, the devil tries to make sin look not only irresistible, but inevitable. And that’s a lie. No matter how sinful and corrupted he may be, man always maintains some freedom to reject the temptation to sin. God’s grace is always sufficient. Always!
More importantly, Christ is stronger than the devil, and He constantly comes to our aid in our own personal battle against the darkness of sin – just as He came into the darkness of our world as a baby 2000 years ago to redeem all of mankind.
And this is what we really celebrate at Christmas. As Isaiah tells us tonight, “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom, a light has shone.” And this light is Christ!
As the Beloved St. John wrote in the first chapter of his Gospel: “All things came to be through Him. . . . What came to be through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
My brothers and sisters, with the angels in Heaven let us rejoice and give glory to God on this holy night, for unto us a Savior has been born, Who is Christ and Lord.
It is He who will save us from our sins and protect us from the snares of the evil one. May we place all our hopes in Him, trusting that bring to us the gift of eternal life.
May we all turn to Him now and open up the gift of salvation!
25 December 2013

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
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