Monday, December 29, 2014

The darkest, yet brightest days of the year: Daily Mass Homily--Monday, December 29th, 2014 (5th Day of Christmas)

(Listen to this homily here).

            If my memory serves correctly, this is the coldest day we’ve had so far this winter.  The Old Man W is here to stay!  Yet what bugs me more about winter than the cold is the darkness.  After all, you can put on more layers, but you can’t turn on the sun!  December 21st—the winter solstice—is the shortest day of the year.  We had eight hours and seventeen minutes of daylight.  This means we had fifteen hours and forty-three minutes of dark!  I don’t know about you, but I always buy a jug of vitamin D gummies and pop those like candy.
            Of all people, we should get the image of light and darkness used in Mass today.  Remember the opening prayer?  “Almighty and invisible God, who dispersed the darkness of this world by the coming of your light…”  St. John wrote in his first letter, “And yet I do write a new commandment to you, which holds true in him and among you, for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.”  (On this note, I love the fact that in the northern hemisphere, the days start getting longer during Christmas!).  John adds, “Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.  Whoever hates his brother is in darkness…” 
            In the nunc dimmitis prayer (let your servant go) of Simeon, light is appealed to once more: “Lord, now let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.”
            Walk in the light of Christmas today.  The light is where we become happy, holy and healthy.  In the darkness of winter, we may take vitamins, supplements or Prozac to feel better psychologically.  Unfortunately, there is no pill to prop us up in the faith!  We must rely on God’s grace to stay out of the darkness—this is where temptation and sin take hold.  Bask in the light—Jesus has come to brighten our day!

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