Word of God

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The Mystery And Gift Of Christmas

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Christmas 2019

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: December 25, 2019

What is God doing?  What is God trying to say to us?

We speak of Jesus as the Word of God.  In Jesus, God wants to speak to humanity.  God wanted to reveal something to us.

What do you think God wanted to say to us in Jesus?  What do you think God was trying to say to us?

This is an incredible mystery and gift.  That the Creator of the Universe, the infinite Spirit, who is God, wants to speak to us human beings.  Jesus is God’s Word spoken to us.

Some things we know about that Word.  First, it was Good News.  In this time of bad news and fake news, what a gift to have God speak to us Good News.  God spoke this word not in a display of overwhelming power, but in weakness, poverty, simplicity.  A helpless baby.

God was revealing the dignity of each human being.  Including the poor, the weak, the outsiders, the sinners, those rejected by so-called good society.

Secondly, this Word is a Word of Mercy.  God did not come to condemn us but to save us and set us free.  So many of us struggle with guilt.  We feel we are not worthy for God.  But, in Jesus, God says something so different.

Recently I had someone come to speak to me in the church.  He had been away from church for a while and felt that he had not lived a good religious life.  He said to me that he was worried about coming to the church because lightning might strike him.

But, the mystery of Christmas is God coming among us, to the outsiders, the so called sinners.  In fact, the powerful, the Pharisees, the Priests, the so called religious elites of the time did not recognize or embrace this Jesus.  It was the poor and the ignored Shepherds who received this Word.

If you consider yourself to be an outsider, not normal, different, a sinner, then that is good, for God in Jesus is speaking directly to you.  My hope at this birth of Jesus is not based on my being a priest, rather it is based precisely on my being a sinner, a human being who struggles.  For the Word of God, the Word spoken to us in Jesus is precisely for us who are sinners, the outsiders.

In Jesus, our God was building a bridge to come over to visit us and speak to us.  In Jesus, our God speaks a word to our hearts.

This Word of God is Good News.  It is a Word of mercy.  In the coming of Jesus, God builds a bridge to reach all of us.  Including those considered outsiders, unimportant, different.  This Word is spoken to each one of you.

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The Word Of God – Fr. Mark

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Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year B

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: Jan 28, 2018

Jesus entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching. What would it have been like to be there in that synagogue as Jesus was teaching. To see him, to hear him. How he sounded, what he taught. That would be special to actually be in that place where Jesus is present teaching. Sometimes we think about how special it must have been for those people alive at that time to be there.

But every time we as Catholics come to celebrate the Eucharist, Jesus is present Sacramentally. In the Assembly gathered, all of you who are the body of Christ. In the priest, who is the sacramental presence of Jesus presiding. In the bread and wine that becomes the real presence of Jesus for us. And in the Word of God proclaimed in this Mass, Jesus is present to us, speaking to us. Today we are able to see and hear Jesus if we pay attention.

This Sunday our Diocese of Hamilton is having its First Annual Bible Sunday. Bishop Crosby has asked us all to reflect on the Scriptures and to encourage us to pray daily with the Bible. There is a bookmark to pick up and bring home to place in your Bible. It gives a little prayer to use before and after reading the Bible and a simple method for praying with Scripture.

Each time we listen to the Word of God at Mass, each time we read the bible at home, we are to listen as though Jesus is there teaching as he was in that synagogue in today’s Gospel. In our Psalm today we sang, “O that today you would listen to the voice of the Lord.”

A priest told me a story of a young woman who was in the RCIA preparing to become Catholic. She was so excited about what she was coming to learn about Jesus. She turned to the priest and asked him, what do you still want to learn about Jesus? He responded: “I would like to learn what was in the heart of Jesus.”

Each time we come to church and listen to the Word of God proclaimed, each time we sit down quietly and read the Gospels at home, we should listen like we are there in a room where Jesus is teaching. Spend time listening to Jesus, come to know him more deeply. St. Jerome once said that ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. ec

This week I visited one of our shut ins who is 93 years old. She is no longer able to get to Mass. At a point she showed me a booklet she receives that has the daily Scripture readings for Mass. She told me that she is so happy to start receiving this because it really has helped her grow in her faith. I hope I am still growing in my faith when I am 93 years old!

Yes, it would have been special to be in that synagogue as Jesus came in to teach. But, we can be in the presence of Jesus teaching, each time we come to Mass and listen attentively to the Word of God proclaimed. We can be in the presence of Jesus teaching, each time we sit quietly reading the Scriptures with our hearts open listening to the voice of the Lord.

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