Homily the Nativity of the Lord (Mass during the Night): Fr. Michael Ufok Udoekpo· Isa 9:1-6
· Ps 96:1-2, 2-3, 11-13
· Ti 2:11-14
· Luke 2:1-14
Today Our Savior has been bornTonight the church everywhere joyfully gather to await and celebrate the humble birth of Christ, our Lord and Savior. The Light of the world, the Grace of God and Prince of Peace. Scripture readings today point to the manner of this birth and how humanity reacts to it with peace, love, harmony, generosity of friends, family gatherings and joy!
Christ born for us tonight is the one long foretold by the prophet Isaiah in that first reading Isaiah 9:1-6. To a hopeless, bullied and oppressed eighth century BC audience Isaiah proclaimed “the people who walk in darkness have seen a great light’ upon those who dwell in the land of gloom a light has shone.” Isaiah calls them to rejoice for this child represent light, a symbol of hope, freedom and justice. Upon his shoulder rests dominion, universal kingship, freedom, justice and mercy. And His name is wonder- counsellor, God- Hero, Father- Forever, Prince of Peace and the Grace of God, according to Titus 2:11-14.
Of course Christ’s birth, God’s incarnate is God’s grace, gratis, favor, gifts and blessings of all kinds to all of humanity, homes and families and this grace is sufficient to everyone, the rich, the poor, the weak and the humble without discrimination.
This is true when we take a look at the manner or the circumstances surrounding his birth. Joseph and Mary heavy with child travelled from the lowly town of Galilee in Nazareth to Judea, the city of David, for census as stipulated by the their civil law. While there were there God has it that Christ is born, not in a palace, but in a manger in Bethlehem. With the guidance of the Angel the first responders were not the rich, but the poor Bedouin –shepherd who were keeping watch over their flock.
Responding, they hid to the message of the Angel. They were not afraid, rather they were filled with joy spreading the news, signing with the Angels and heavenly host the hymn with which we began this celebration with “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those whom his favor rests.”
As we sing this Gloria tonight, our societies, nations, world today are still been hunted by the darkness of poverty, hunger, division, terrorism, racism and wars, to name, but a few. That being the case, we are invited tonight not to be afraid of the future, but to rejoice, celebrate, share the gifts, food, drinks, clothing, cards, and blessings God has blessed us with, with our neighbors. And like the shepherds of today’s gospel, continue to be the heralds and conduits of the peace, joy and salvation Christ has brought us at Christmas!
1. Could you think of any form of contemporary acts of injustice or misfortune symbolized by biblical darkness facing challenges of the Light of Christ at Christmas?
2. Could you think of the graces, and favors of God in your life that Christmas reminds you of?
3. Are you prepared to be the heralds or the conduits of the joy of Christ- the Good News with your neighbor or member of your faith community and beyond?