Fr. Mark Gatto
Posted: December 25, 2020
Luke describes a vision of shepherds going in haste to see something special. A multitude of Angels were praising God singing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven,…” It all seems like such a wonderful, magical moment. But, what we see is such a simple, ordinary and very human scene. A mother, a father and a weak new born baby.
The Word became flesh. A child was born among us wrapped in swaddling clothes. In this little baby, the God of the universe, the God who is beyond all and embraces all, wanted to speak to humanity. God entered our history and time, became one of us, to speak a word to us.
So, we speak of Jesus as the Word of God and sometimes speak of Jesus as the face of God.
The invisible God was made visible in our midst.
In Jesus, the Word made flesh, what has God spoken to humanity? Here are a few words that capture some of the ultimate Word that God spoke to us in the coming of Jesus:
Love. That God is love and that we are loved by this God and that we are all called to live a life of love. We are all connected in a love beyond anything we can imagine. Wherever there is true love in this life, we are connected to God. It is love that keeps us connected to those who have died and gone before us. Love and connection is the foundation and basis of our universe. God’s Word is a word of love.
Human dignity. St. John Paul II once described Christianity as “an attitude of amazement at the dignity of the human being.” We need to recognize our own dignity, each one of us has a dignity rooted in God. Therefore, we need to treat each person in this life with a sense of their dignity. The homeless, the poor, those of other religions or no religion, each member of our family, each friend and each stranger. The dignity of each human being should be the guide to every decision we make politically, economically, personally. How we respond to refugees, to people of other nations and to each neighbour. God’s Word reveals our human dignity.
Forgiveness. So much guilt can afflict us, but God has spoken a word of forgiveness. God is so generous in offering forgiveness. God is extreme, even seeming foolish in offering forgiveness. God wants to overcome evil, not by force or violence, but by wiping it out through forgiveness.
This should lead us to make forgiveness the heart of our way of life, our spirituality. In fact, we recognize that call to forgiveness, in order to be like God, each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer. God’s Word says to us, “I forgive you.”
Poor. The rich and the powerful and the famous are not worth more than the poor, the weak, the unknown. God sees beyond all of our world’s ways of judging. God did not come as a powerful force to dominate and control the world. God came as a poor little baby with no power at all. For the God of the universe does not desire to control us but to set us free. God’s Word is a word to the poor, including the poverty in each one of us.
The final word that I will use today that captures something of that Word of God spoken in Jesus, is the word, Kind. This is a God who is everlasting kindness. When we are kind, we are being like God. When I decided to become a priest, my father only had one piece of advice, “be kind to the people.” It seemed so simplistic. Yet, the choice to be kind makes a big difference in our world.
Think about your own experience. During your day, when one person shows you kindness how does that make you feel? But, if one person shows you unkindness during the day, how does that make you feel? A kind word or a kind act can make such a difference.
God’s Word is a word that says, Be Kind.
In Jesus, the Word of God, our God has spoken to humanity. The words I shared here capture some of what God wanted to say to us. Take some time to think about what other words you would include in this story. Someone once asked, “what is the most valuable prayer of Christmas?” His answer was, that the most valuable prayer of Christmas is Silence.
This Christmas, take a moment of silence, listen in your heart to the word God has spoken in Jesus and listen within for the word spoken to you.
Feast of Mary, Mother of God
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: January 1, 2019
What is the closest thing to God in the entire universe?
When we pray, our words can have some value. Some of our concepts and images of God can help to lead our heart towards the mystery of God. But, our words always fall so short of the reality of God. Silence is the most honest place to encounter the mystery of God.
“Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart” . In silence Mary pondered them in her heart. As we come to the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019, we would do good to follow this example of Mary. Take time to ponder all that is happening in my life, to treasure God’s presence in ways we do not understand. Enter into silence to be embraced by the mystery of God.
Close your eyes, let us take now a moment of silence to dwell in the presence of the living God.
Some of us will have new year resolutions for this year. One might be to commit to a time of silence each day. If just beginning, start very small and short. Even just 5 minutes a day, with everything shut off, sit in silence, not to say anything, not expecting to hear anything, just to be in the presence of God.
Knowledge is a good thing. Experience is a good thing. But, it is in Silence that our knowledge and experience are able to become wisdom.
“Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart”. We also need the wisdom that comes from silence, like Mary when we treasure and ponder in our heart.
1st Sunday of Lent – Year B
Fr. David Reitzel
Preached: Feb 25 2018