Homily ·Advent
By Archbishop Gomez
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
December 24, 2017

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1

Merry Christmas to you all! !Feliz Navidad a todos!

Tonight is a night of joy! There is great rejoicing tonight — in heaven and on earth — as we join the whole world in proclaiming good news of great joy. It is wonderful that we gather this evening for the celebration of this Eucharist, as we celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today, a savior is born for you and for me. He is Jesus Christ and he is the Lord! 

On this night, the Creator is entering into the history of the world he created!

Our God comes into this world as a child — a child with no place to be born. As we just heard in the beautiful passage of the Nativity of Jesus Christ in tonight’s Gospel:

So on this night, God is once more born into the world in poverty.

She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

The story of Mary and Joseph is indeed a story of poverty. We know this is how poor families live, still today. They live with no certainty in their lives, no security.

And on this holiest of nights — we know, we have the certainty, that our Lord is close to all those who are poor; close to all those who do not have enough food to eat and no bed to sleep in; close to those who are refugees and immigrants and prisoners.  

And in a special way this year, we know that our Lord is close to those families who have lost everything in the wildfires that are still burning and still threatening our region.

It’s true — God is with us. And God is especially with us who are suffering and who need him.

Our Lord reminds us tonight — that if we love him, we need to love those whom he loves. He reminds us tonight, that when we welcome the poor, we are welcoming him.

This is the light that comes to us at Christmas.

The prophet Isaiah proclaims:

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 my dear brothers and sisters, this is the reality of our world — so many people walking in darkness, trying to figure out the meaning of their lives and find the purpose of their lives. 

And we have to ask ourselves tonight: what are we all looking for? What do we want out of life?

Everybody’s different — we all are different. But we all have the same longings in our heart. We want relationships that last. We want to be a better person. We want to be more loving, more giving; we want to be kinder and more caring. We want to get closer to the people that we love.

That’s who we are.

We are all looking for that one true path that will lead us to happiness, isn’t it true?

And so divine Love comes down tonight from heaven to light the way for us.

Remember the first pages of the Bible, the story of how the world was created? In the beginning everything was in darkness. All of creation was one dark night. And then God said, “Let there be light!”

And this is happening again at Christmas. Into the night of this world, into the darkness of our lives, Jesus Christ comes to be our light. He comes to be our life.

We know that living things need light to grow. And all of us — we all need the light of Christ to truly be alive.

The prophet tells us tonight: For a child is born to us, a son is given us.

And amazingly, this child is born ­­— ­like any other child. Just like you and just like me, when we were babies. And that is the point.

The Son of God comes as a son of Mary — so that through his birth we can all have a new birth as God’s sons and God’s daughters.

In this child who is born to us tonight, we can make a new beginning. Each one of us can become a new creation!

It’s an extraordinary moment, every Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Tonight, God comes and he enters into our personal “story.” Tonight, God comes to save us and to heal us. And to be that light that can help us to find happiness — real happiness.

So on this Christmas, my dear brothers and sisters, let us ask for the grace to make a new beginning.

Like those shepherds in the fields at the first Christmas, tonight we stand in the presence of the living God, the Creator.

The glory of the Lord is shining all around us — “in this infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

So, let us push away the darkness and step into his light! Put all your trust in Jesus, and he will show you the way that will lead you to lasting happiness, love and joy.

And finally my brothers and sisters: Christmas is a mission for Christians!

We need to proclaim the “good news of great joy” to all people. We need to proclaim it by the way we live, and by the way we act, and by the way we treat other people. People should know that we Christians by the way that we behave, by the way that we do things in our lives.

It is a beautiful call. It is a beautiful mission. We are really called to change the world and to bring the light of Christ to the people around us.

So tonight we ask the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary and St. Joseph.  

On this holy night, may they help us — Mary and Joseph — to welcome this Child into our hearts. May she help us to live with new joy — so everyone we meet will want to “make room” for Jesus in their lives.

Again, Merry Christmas to you and your families!

1. Readings (Mass During the Night): Isa. 9:1-6; Ps. 96:1-3, 11-13; Tit. 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14.

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