Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Homily for 28 Dec 2016

28 Dec 2016

So often it’s the case that wherever Jesus goes, death is not far behind.  And so, it shouldn’t be a surprise that only three days after Christmas we’re commemorating the martyrdom of the Holy Innocents.  Jesus seems to be like a trigger for evil to rear its ugly head.  And this isn’t Jesus’ fault, of course; it’s just a reminder that wherever goodness is, something will try to undercut it.  Wherever Jesus goes, death is not far behind.

As we know, the Holy Innocents did nothing wrong, and yet they were guilty by association; they just happened to born around the same time and in the same place as Jesus.  And they were massacred because of that association with him.  Now, as Christians—as people who intentionally associate themselves with Jesus—we have a mixed experience. 

On the one hand, it’s a very deep joy to call Jesus the Lord, and to really let him be the Lord for us.  And it’s a joy to celebrate the birth of our Savior.  But, on the other hand, it puts us in harm’s way; trying to follow the example of Jesus sometimes makes for a difficult life.  It’s a simple case of guilt by association—because we attempt to be Christ-like, sin won’t be far behind.  If we try to be joyful, frustration won’t be far behind.

Just think of Mary and Joseph, who led pretty quiet lives until Jesus came to them.  Then they found themselves fleeing to Egypt and living in a foreign land for a few years.  Again, it wasn’t Jesus’ fault.  It was simply because wherever Jesus goes, death is not far behind.  Wherever goodness tries to plant itself, sin will try to uproot it.

And so, as we continue to celebrate Christmas, we open our hearts and homes to the Lord.  We know that Christian living isn’t always easy, but the struggles and the trials are worth it.  Death and sin may follow Jesus—and his followers, but Jesus will always have the last word.  Faith, hope, and charity will always win out.

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