Thursday, December 25, 2008
Celebrating Christmas Amidst a Dark World: The Light that Shines in the Darkness
There were two Christmas vigil masses in our church last night - the first one at eight pm (in Cebuano language) and the second at ten pm (in English). In both masses, the church was packed and many had to stand outside while others brought their own plastic chairs. Thirty minutes before the second vigil mass, the seminarians had the christmas carol (a capella) which I conducted. Fr. Brendan Kelly, the new rector of the Davao Redemptorist Community was the main celebrant. Afte the mass, our community had our noche buena of ham, hungarian sausage with wine and whisky. It was already one in the morning when we went to bed. It was a very silent outside. There was no sound of firecrackers or fireworks. They are banned in the city.
This morning, I was the main celebrant at the nine a.m. mass. This is the homily that I preached:
The Light that Shines in the Dark
"The light shines in the dark, and the darkness could not overcome the light"
Is it possible to celebrate Christmas amidst suffering, poverty, violence, etc? Can we have a Merry Christmas when we do not have enough money? When we do not have enough food? When we are sick?
The natural response is no. But our readings tell us that Yes we can celebrate Christmas even in the midst of a seeming dark world, when we feel hopeless and helpless.
The Good News that the Gospel proclaims which we celebrate joyfully:
The Word was Made Flesh and Dwelt among us. God has entered human history, God is with us. He is near to us.
The coming of Jesus is the coming of light. The light shines in the dark and the darkness could not overcome the light.
Christmas is for people who are in the dark, for people who are suffering, for people who are looking for hope. Christmas tells us that God has given us the greatest gift -- his only Son who brings salvation into the world, who will overcome all evil -- all darkness.
What we have to do is to accept Christ as our light so that we ourselves become a light in this dark world.
The souce of our joy and happiness this Christmas is Christ himself. It is He that shine is the darkness, in the hopelessness in our life.