Homily Notes, Christmas 2013
Some people get confused about the role of the Church.
Politicians and Governments often do, viewing the Church as if it was a foreign state attempting to interfere in another state’s affairs.
Perhaps the fact that there is a state – the Vatican – fuels such thinking.
But the Church is not interested in the State.
We’re interested in the rule or reign of God in human affairs, in the inculturation of the Gospel (the Gospel becomes our culture), in Jesus Christ becoming Lord. The journey of the Church year, from Christmas (December) to Our Lord Jesus Christ Universal King (November) is an interior journey that the Church wants all to make.
The reign of God in human affairs is human peace, human joy, it is the only guarantee of human well-being.
If God doesn’t rule human affairs, there can be no lasting happiness and without conversion human affairs will tumble. That means human suffering. Therefore Christmas can never be viewed as a purely religious event.
Besides, it’s ridiculous to suggest that God became man and yet it doesn’t have universal significance; to suggest that God became man but he’s not looking for Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Kenny and you!
The primary function of the Church is to convince every State, every head of State and every citizen of every State to take Christmas (and Easter) seriously, to treat Christmas –
- not as a sentimental irrelevance to the real work of daily life
- not primarily as a time for family and family reunions;
- not primarily as a commercial event;
- not as a purely religious event;
- and certainly not as a time to be reinvented replacing Christ with Season (Happy Holiday Season!) or worse still to replace Christ with X!
– but rather, as a decisive intervention of God in order to direct and order human affairs and bring them to fulfilment. Follow me, he says. Look … I want your attention!
And in particular that we do not narrow our vision so that life becomes nothing more than time between the two points of birth and death.
So open wide the doors …He became man so that we may become divine!