Jesus comes in history, mystery, glory

12-25-2017HomiliesFr. Chad King

Welcome to one of the most important celebrations of our entire lives- we celebrate the Son of God, being born in our world and dwelling among us, I am so glad that you chose to come today!  The other day I was listening to Catholic Radio- AM1310.  One of the hosts, talking about Christmas said that Jesus comes in 3 ways- He comes in history, mystery, and in glory. Together, let us reflect on these 3 ways, what they are and how they are connected.   

Jesus comes in history.  Today we celebrate the fact that God was born as a little baby named Jesus in our world and time; and this event actually changed the course of history forever.  This real event is so absolutely amazing, that it literally defines time.  As you know, the calendar we use is actually centered around this event of God becoming man.  The thousands of years before this birth is called BC- Before Christ.  And now the soon to be 2018 years after is AD- Anno Domini- meaning “the year of the Lord”.  Likewise, history tells us that this boy is born in a city called Bethlehem, if you travel to the Holy Land you can still see the place where He was born.  History tells us that an angel appeared to a young virgin named Mary, and to a carpenter named Joseph, saying that the virgin Mary would conceive and give birth to a boy, and they are to name him Jesus- which means ‘The Lord Saves’.  Did you know that, from the beginning Jesus’s mission to save us was announced? But Jesus was not just an ordinary baby boy that happened to be born in Bethlehem.  The historical book, the bible, in the Old Testament foretells that the Messiah, the Savior of the world, would be born about that time as a little boy in Bethlehem.  And this boy would be born miraculously, to a mother who was a virgin.  Astrologers, or Magi, who were searching for the Messiah to welcome Him with gifts, followed a shining star which lit the way to the newborn Savior.  This miraculous birth was witnessed by shepherds.  We also know from the historical book, the bible, that as this boy named Jesus grows older, he is given the title Christ- which means the Anointed One.  History tells us that this God becoming man not only was born miraculously, but performed many miracles- he healed men born blind, he raised the dead, he cast out demons.  In other words, He performed miracles that only God could do.  Thousands of people witnessed, saw, touched, and heard this person named Jesus Christ.  The reason I am saying all this, is because it is a literal fact.  History has testified to this truth.  It actually happened, God became man and walked on this earth. 

Therefore, this same Jesus, who took on human flesh, who walked and talked with his disciples and followers, after His miraculous death and resurrection and just before He Ascended into Heaven in front of the eyes of his disciples, told them that He would be with them until the end of time. And notice that Jesus didn’t say, my Spirit will be with you, but I- meaning my whole person- body and spirit, will be with you.  Certainly, that is a mystery- that Jesus would still be with his disciples until the end of time but at the same time also be in Heaven.  Again, something, only God can do.  You might be wondering how?  Jesus also comes in mystery.  The Greek word for Sacrament is ‘Mysterion’, which we get the word ‘mystery’ from.  And so we celebrate the fact that Jesus comes in each Sacrament.  The same Jesus who is the eternal Son of God become man, who took on a human body and dwelled among us, takes the things of the earth and brings about a Spiritual reality.  He made the cleansing with water bring about a deeper, spiritual reality in which our souls are cleansed from all stain of sin.  Just as Jesus became one with us and gave himself out of love to save all of humanity, so He says I will be present and hold them in the union when a man and woman say “I Do” to loving each other and giving themselves in the Sacrament of Marriage.  And in the Sacrament of Confession or Reconciliation, it is Jesus, who died for the forgiveness of sins upon the Cross, says through the person of the priest that our sins are forgiven and we are reconciled with God once again.  Likewise, Jesus took the ordinary food and drink- bread and wine which he ate and drank every day, and brings about a deeper spiritual reality for them to become His Body and Blood, just as He said He did in the bible.  And so my brothers and sisters, today we celebrate that reality that God became man and dwells among us.  God dwells with us- in history and in Sacrament.  The word in Greek for ‘dwells’ literally means tabernacle.  So we celebrate the fact that in the person of Jesus, God literally tabernacles with us.  Therefore, the same Jesus is present, the very life and power of God, is made present in the world, using the bread of the earth, for the good of you and I.  So that, just as the real as the historical disciples walked, talked, touched, ate, drank, and witnessed the miraculous power of Jesus, the God made man, in their own lives, is just as real that you and I can walk, talk, touch, eat, drink, and can witness the power of God in our lives- in our day and time, until the end of time. The very life and love which made God become man, is the same life and love which Jesus gives through every Sacrament until the end of time. 

Then at the end of time, Jesus will come in glory.  At the end of time which the exact moment is only know by God, Jesus will come back- though this time not as a precious baby boy, things but He will come back to earth in the very glory and splendor He has always had as the eternal Son of God before and after the creation of the world.  Jesus will come back in glory, to bring every person who has ever chosen to believe, follow, and receive the power of God on this earth, God will bring to share for all eternity into His glorious life in Heaven. 

Please join me during this Christmas celebration to meditate on Jesus’s presence.  Let us remember that in every Sacrament we receive he glorious power and life of Jesus in us and prepares us for Heaven.  So let us, here and now, enter into this celebration of God coming in history and in mystery with all our hearts, and ask God to let us encounter and receive, along with Mary, Joseph, the Magi, and all the disciples who ever lived, the glorious power and love of God in us, now and for all eternity.  May God Bless you, and may your Christmas be merry.