Friday, December 25, 2015
A demanding Christmas
Sermon preached at Our Lady of Walsingham and St Francis on the First Mass of Christmas
It's interesting that a newborn baby will decide that it prefers Daddy's chest to sleep on rather than the cot. It's interesting that baby will decide that five minutes' time is just not quick enough. It's interesting that baby decides to make smells just as the visitors have just sat down to tea.
Babies are demanding, but their demands come not from selfishness, nor from arbitrary whim but from sheer necessity. They truly need things done for them in order to survive. This is often at odds with what we want to give them and when it's convenient.
While they would want a proper bed, Mary and Joseph have to make do with a manger. It's not what they want but it's the best they can do. They would want a nice clean hotel room, but they have to make do with a dirty stable. It's not what they want but it's the best they can do. Circumstances make it difficult for them to meet the baby's needs, but still Our Lady and St Joseph meet them as best they can.
The fact is that Our Lord Jesus is demanding as a baby, but remains demanding. He demands much of us, not as some tyrant or despot, nor even as a benign dictator, but rather so that we may grow close to Him an live with Him forever. His demands of us to obey His commandments are to increase in Love. We must decrease so that He can increase.
Here we are in this tiny chapel. We have no great stone cathedral, nor a robed choir singing the carols, but we are here nonetheless to make present Our Lord in the darkness of the World in our sacrifice of the Mass: we do what we can. This is how we meet His demands, through keeping the Catholic Faith in love. This is not a faith that we make up for ourselves out of our own convenience ; it is a faith ruled by the demands of Christ that we might live with Him in Eternity.