The Bishops Homily – Vigil of Christmas

Vigil Of Christmas
Midnight Mass
24 December 2016
Is. 62: 1-5
Acts 13: 16-17;22-25
Mt. 1:1-25

Introduction:  Welcome Jesus into our world! This is another level of Communion: shared friendship with Jesus Christ like the shepherds who in their poverty welcomed with faith and joy, hope and courage the offer of friendship by God in the Christ-child, born in a manger.

(1)    St. John Paul II used to say: “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ.” Benedict XVI commented on those words “Are we not all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that he might take something away from us? No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful, and great. No! Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation… When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ… and you will find true life.”

(2)    Friendship with Jesus is an extremely important message. It is a message that helps to overcome what can be considered the great temptation of our time: the claim that after the Big Bang, God withdrew from history. Thus in his book, Jesus of Nazareth, his main purpose was “to help foster (in the reader) the growth of a living relationship with Jesus Christ.” In his first Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, he took up this theme again and gave this summary of the Encyclical: “If friendship with God becomes for us something ever more important and decisive, then we will begin to love those whom God loves and who are in need of us. God wants us to be friends of his friends and we can be so, if we are interiorly close to them.”

(3)  Becoming a friend of Jesus,

  • we will come to know his Father, how to obey (love) Him as he obeyed (loved) him
    he will give us his mother to assist us and protect us from all dangers
  • we will come to know his friends: the poor, the widows, the children, the outcasts of society, his apostles and disciples
  • we will marvel at the beauty of nature, the arts, music, dance and movements
  • we will appreciate the developments of science, and all creative powers in his creatures
  • we will see greatness, beauty, and truth because we will see, hear, speak, think and feel with his eyes (ears, words, mind, heart)
  • we have nothing to prove but just be ourselves
  • teaches us to suffer pain with joy, to experience happiness to the fullest, and to hope even when there seems nothing to hope for
  • we encounter him in the different events of life (death, baptism, birthday, or when crushed by our own failures)
  • we experience an unconditional love, pure love for who we are

Conclusion:  The angels sing what happens when man is a friend of this Jesus: “Glory to God…and on earth peace to men.” “Papuri sa Diyos…at sa lupa’y kapayapaan sa mga tao.”

Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches