I am carrying to you little Jesus…
December 30, 2020
Sixth Day of the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord
Dear Family of Mary!
“Dear children! I am carrying to you little Jesus who brings you peace, Him who is the past, present and future of your existence…” (December 25, 2020)
As we live these days of Christmas, we want to meditate on Jesus, the Son of God, who became Man to save us. There is so much to take in. Father Leon Pereira’s homily for Christmas Day offers us a beautiful meditation on the gift of God, Jesus, Incarnate. Enjoy!!
Homily, Christmas Day, English Mass in Medjugorje. Father Leon Pereira:
This season of Christmas highlights the rift between riches and poverty in our society, not just materially but spiritually. You can be poor despite having riches (in having all you want) and be rich despite your poverty (in having what you truly need).
Let’s contrast these two things: possessions and being, between presents and being present. We take possession of things. Even with gifts we can either receive them or refuse them. Taking is essential to possessions. Being or life, on the other hand, can’t (in this sense) be taken. It can only be sheer utter gift. Anyone can give a present – but not everyone can give the gift of being present…. Only a true friend can do that. In this time of isolation, poverty, antisocial distancing, the covering of faces and depersonalisation, in this time of economic and social stress, when purpose of life and goals are denied many people, we can see more clearly what matters, and what makes us truly rich.
We cannot speak of the literal riches of God because God does not have and could not have possessions. It is true that the Bible uses images, as though God possessed the earth: ‘In His hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are His.’ But these are images of God, just like the images of God as a warrior or a rock or an eagle. They are not to be taken literally. We cannot speak literally of the possessions of God for He could not take anything to use for His own purposes. Nothing acts for the benefit of God because He needs nothing.
We cannot speak literally of the riches of God, but we can speak literally of the poverty of God. His poverty is, of course, not the same as our poverty, just as His wisdom is not like ours. God is literally poor because He simply and literally has no possessions. God takes nothing for His own use. He only has life and being. And, if you want to press the point, He does not even have life and being, just as he does not have wisdom or goodness. In God, being alive and being wise and being good are simply being God and nothing more, nothing extra he has. It is what He is. So, for us to aim at poverty, is to aim in the direction of the simplicity and poverty of God – is a move away from possessing to being.
When God creates all things it is an act of poverty, for God gains nothing by it. God makes without becoming any richer. His act of creation is simply and purely for the benefit of his creatures. If we ask what motive God had for making the world, the question is absurd. It is only created things which gain by God’s act of creating them. It is a purely gratuitous act of love, that characteristic act of love which is the giving of life – the very opposite of trying to possess.
When we aim at possessing, we think if only we had such and such, then we could be happy, or content. If only I had money or more money or the respect of my peers. If only I had a happy family, or a family at all. If only people did what I wanted. If only people admired me, my wit, my looks. We fall into depression when what we want to possess is threatened with being taken away. Christmas can become an exercise in possession. We strive to play Happy Families, even though such things do not exist. We struggle to have all our loved ones with us, even though it is practically impossible for most people, and not advisable for many.
Or we can aim at poverty, at being, at what we need rather than what we want. The one who aims at poverty knows that we can only live by giving ourselves, as Jesus says, “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Luke 17.33). We can’t live by building a buffer of possessions around ourselves, by controlling those we claim to love. We live by giving to others the space to live. To the extent we live as genuine friends, we imitate and share in the inner life of the Blessed Trinity. In our own created and finite way we can live by the free gift we make to others: the free gift of ourselves. It is a question of which direction we are aiming for.
The God we serve, the true and Living God, emptied Himself and became one of us, born poor, and cold, sheltering in a stable with His first worshippers: His mother Mary, His foster father Joseph, an ox, and an ass. He does not try to possess but gives Himself for our happiness. God, who needs nothing from us, becomes a baby, a baby who needs everything from us. And the baby Jesus needs us, not for His sake, but for ours. Don’t say you have nothing to offer him, because the truth is you have everything to offer Him, the most precious thing about you which you will only keep if you give it away. In the words of my favorite Christmas carol:
What can I give him, Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man, I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him — Give my heart.
Thank you, Father Leon! Merry Christmas everyone!
In Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!
©Mary TV 2020
PS. The Christmas Greetings from our shipmates are just wonderful!!! You can view them in our video library window – “More from Medjugorje.” Thanks to all who contributed!!! We love you all!!