Homily by Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna
What does it mean to celebrate Christmas this year? I would like to quote a short verse from the gospel we have just heard proclaimed in Maltese.
First of all this very first chapter of the gospel of John introduces us to the mystery we are celebrating. In verse 14 we have the most important declaration, that the Word – the Son of God, became flesh and dwelt, lived among us and we have seen his glory full of grace and truth. Grace is another word for gratuitous love, a love that does not expect any reply or any advantage, love for love’s sake. And truth is the basis of fidelity, loyalty, commitment, full of grace and truth. Jesus gives his life for us and our salvation because he is full of grace and truth.
This Scripture passage also tells us that he came to what was his own, his own people but they did not accept him. This is also the story of Christmas. Jesus goes through rejection and this is why we are here today. We need to understand that if we are to celebrate Christmas, we need to accept Jesus and not reject him. As a grown up, he says: “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have done that to me” (Mt 25:40). He is one with people who are in need, people who are knocking on our doors. What will our reaction be? What will our answer be? If we receive them, we receive him.
Augustine, the great bishop from North Africa would say: ‘I am afraid that Jesus would be visiting me and I will lose the opportunity to receive him’. Jesus is knocking on our door today. Let us be generous enough to receive him in our brothers and sisters especially in those who have a right to family life. That would be the best Christmas we can celebrate and truly enjoy.
✠ Charles J. Scicluna
Archbishop of Malta
Reading I: Is 52, 7-10
Psalm: 97 (98), 1.2-3ab.3cd-4.5-6
Reading II: Heb 1, 1-6
Gospel: Jn 1, 1-18