Homilies

Christmas Day 2020

Solemnity of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Solemnity of All Saints

Votive Mass of Our Lady on Saturday

Votive Mass of the Most Holy Rosary

Anniversary of the Dedication of the Shrine Church

Pontifical Requiem Mass - Twentieth Anniversary of the Death of Ignatius Cardinal Kung Pin-Mei

Memorial of Saint Cajetan, Priest – Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Anniversary of the Dedication of the Church – Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Homily list

Christmas Day 2020

In Nativitate Domini ad Tertiam Missam
Chapel of the Seminary of Saint Philip Neri
Gricigliano

Heb 1, 1-12
Jn 1, 1-14

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The extraordinary joy and peace of today’s feast have their inexhaustible source in the Mystery of Faith, in the truth expressed in the words of the Gospel: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.”[1] It is the truth which is all Beauty and Goodness for us, for God, in His immeasurable and unceasing love has made His home with us in the Church. God the Father has sent God the Son, the Word Who is the expression of His very Being, ordering the world at the Creation and restoring the fallen world through His Redemptive Incarnation. The Son Whom the Father sent to save the world, “whom he appointed the heir of all things” is the same Divine Person “through whom he also created the world.”[2] Thus the Letter to the Hebrews describes God the Son Incarnate:

He reflects the very glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs.[3]

As they are for the Father, so for the Son, the angels are “all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation.”[4] In fact, at the Birth of the Divine Savior the angels came to sing a beautiful hymn to the Mystery of Faith and to draw the shepherds to come to the stable to see and to worship God the Son Incarnate.

Dom Prosper Guéranger, reflecting upon the Mystery of Christmas, writes:

The splendour of this Mystery dazzles the understanding, but it inundates the heart with joy. It is the consummation of the designs of God in time. It is the endless subject of admiration and wonder to the Angels and Saints; nay, is the source and cause of their beatitude.[5]

No matter what burdens or sorrows weigh upon us, our faith fills us with the joy and peace of the truth that God the Son has come to dwell with us, has come as the true Son of Mary whose husband Joseph became His guardian.

Dwelling with us, God the Son Incarnate enables us, through the countless graces which flow from His Redemptive Incarnation, to be His steadfast and courageous “fellow workers in the truth,”[6] His “good soldier[s].”[7] Satan, with all his cunning, tries to steal from us the joy and peace of Christmas. He is ever trying to get entry into our hearts by distracting us from the Mystery of Faith and by corrupting us with disordered affections. Kneeling before the Christmas crib, contemplating the Infant Jesus, His mother Mary, and His foster-father Joseph, let us hear the beating of their Three Hearts in love for man. Let our hearts be joined totally to theirs: the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Purest Heart of Saint Joseph. In the Mystery of Faith, in the mystery of the Three Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, our hearts are liberated from distractions and wrong affections, and are filled with immeasurable and unceasing joy and peace.

In an altogether particular way, we live in the truth of the Nativity of Our Lord every time that we participate in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. When the priest, acting in the very person of Christ, our Savior, pronounces the words over the bread and wine we offer: “For this is My Body… For this is the Chalice of My Blood of the new and eternal Testament, the Mystery of Faith; which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins,”[8] we experience, in the fullest manner possible, the truth we celebrate today: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” Rightly, the door of the tabernacle of your chapel depicts the Birth of Our Lord. In the Eucharistic Sacrifice, truly “we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.”

Reflecting upon the significance of the name of the birthplace of the Savior, Bethlehem, “the House of Bread,” Dom Guéranger reminds us that God the Son took our human flesh, in order that He might be the Heavenly Bread which both sustains us along the pilgrimage of our earthly life and is the pledge of eternal life with Him, the true destiny of our pilgrimage. Holy Communion effects the highest and most perfect transformation of our lives; it brings to fullness the life of Christ within us from the moment of Baptism and strengthened and increased from the moment of Confirmation. Dom Guéranger writes:

It is for this divine transformation that the world was in expectation for four thousand years, and for which the Church prepared herself by the four weeks of Advent. It has come at last, and Jesus is about to enter within us, if we will but receive him. He asks to be united to each one of us in particular, just as he is united by his Incarnation to the whole human race; and for this end he wishes to become our Bread, our spiritual nourishment.[9]

“If we will but receive him.” Let us, one with the Virgin Mother of God and her most chaste spouse Joseph, place our hearts totally into the Divine Heart Incarnate. Let us receive Our Lord, so that He may become our all, so that He may purify us of all sin, so that His love may be the very form of our daily living.

Recognizing here and now the Mystery of Faith, the Christmas truth of God’s dwelling with us, let us lift up our hearts, one with the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Purest Heart of Saint Joseph, to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, the Savior of the world, the King of Heaven and of earth. So may our hearts be filled with the joy and peace of His Birth at Bethlehem, the joy and peace He gives us without measure and without cease in the Church, most especially through the Eucharistic Sacrifice we now celebrate. So may we always be wise and courageous “fellow workers in the truth,”[10] “good soldier[s]”[11] of Christ.

Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God, have mercy on us.
Mother of our Savior, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us.
Saint Benedict of Nursia, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us.
Saint Philip Neri, pray for us.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke

[1] Jn 1, 14.

[2] Heb 1, 2.

[3] Heb 1, 3-4.

[4] Heb 1, 14.

[5] “Mystère éblouissant pour l’intelligence, mai suave au cœur des fidèles, il est la consommation des desseins de Dieu dans le temps, l’objet de l’admiration e de l’étonnement des Anges et des Saints dans leur éternité, en même temps que le principe et le moyen de leur béatitude.” Prosper Guéranger, L’Année liturgique, Le Temps de Noel, Tome I, 21ème éd. (Tours: Maison Alfred Mame et Fils, 1923), p. 7. [Guéranger]. English translation: Prosper Guéranger, The Liturgical Year, Christmas, Book I, tr. Laurence Shepherd (Fitzwilliam, NH: Loreto Publications, 2000), p. 6. [Guéranger Eng].

[6] 3 Jn 8.

[7] 2 Tm 2, 3.

[8] “Hoc est enim Corpus meum… Hic est enim Calix Sanguinis mei, novi et aeterni Testamenti : Mysterium fidei : qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum.” Missale Romanum, ed. 1962. English translation: The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual (London: Baronius Press, 2012), pp. 943 and 945.

[9] “C’est là cette divine transformation que le monde attendait depuis quatre mille ans, vers laquelle l’Église a soupiré durant les quatre semaines du Temps de l’Avent. L’heure est enfin venue, et le Christ va entrer en nous, si nous voulons le recevoir. Il demande à s’unir a chacun de nous, comme il s’est uni à la nature humaine en général, et pour cela il se veut faire notre Pain, notre nourriture spirituelle.” Guéranger, p. 13. English translation: Guéranger Eng, p. 11.

[10] 3 Jn 8.

[11] 2 Tm 2, 3.