Yesterday at a Christmas morning Mass I got to hear one of the best Christmas homilies I have heard in a long time.
It has become a bit of a trend for a Christmas preacher to borrow a baby as a visual-aid for the homily, and to hold the baby while talking about Jesus as unexpectedly becoming present among us as little, helpless and vulnerable baby.
It was a good point when I first heard it many years ago but perhaps has become a bit overworked and predictable?
Yesterday’s preacher began his reflection with a few great thoughts, perhaps two or three minutes of on-the-mark encouragements. Then he walked to the aisle and asked if he could borrow one of the many babies present.
I knew what was coming.
Well I thought I knew.
We’ve been here before and I thought I knew the punch-line.
The priest began this second part of his homily holding the baby awkwardly at a distance. I could read the faces and minds of the experienced parents in the church, some probably whispering discreetly to each other with a smile: “that’s how a Catholic priest holds a baby!”
Within a few moments of taking the child the priest commented: “my arms are getting tired, but that’s because I am holding the baby at arms length. If I hold the baby close then my arms do not tire and I could hold the baby all day.”
He then brought the baby close, against his chest, and we all relaxed, and smiled, and understood.
In the next minute he concluded, in case anyone had not already got the point, saying that most of the time most of us hold Jesus at a distance, and it feels like hard work to be Christian. But when we hold Jesus close, when we let Him hold us close, we find ourselves able to relax, and to live intimately in this divine relationship forever.
I appreciate those who comment that living as a fully-committed Christian, desiring to live every moment in relationship with Jesus Christ, is hard work. Well life is not easy, but my experience has taught me that living in relationship with Jesus with my entire heart, soul and mind is the easiest of all life’s options.
If you don’t believe me, decide now to live fully in relationship with Jesus, heart, soul, and mind, 100% for the next 24 hours. Hold Him close. Let Him hold you close. Speak to him often, a dozen times an hour, informal and intimate. Do nothing that feels like movement away from this embrace. Simply remain in His love.
I guarantee you will experience a remarkable difference in your life. within an hour or two.
Try it – starting with a decision right now.
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John O’Connor with the FFF Trustees
Merv Duffy SM, Catherine Gibbs & Chris Fogarty
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